Categories
Breakdown Editors Picks TV and Cinema Editors Picks Wrestling News Professional Wrestling Raw TV and Cinema WWE

Monday Night RAW Rants: Firefly Fun House Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub’s weekly breakdown of Monday Night RAW. This week, we break down the return of Bray Wyatt in his “Firefly Fun House” and usher in the AJ Styles era at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

HEADLINE NEWS – AJ STYLES IS SO MONEY

WWE wasted no time in booking a showdown between RAW’s biggest stars, Universal Champ Seth Rollins and AJ Styles.

Styles defeated United States Champion Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio in a triple-threat qualifier match. With the win, AJ advanced to the show’s main event against Baron Corbin. The Lone Wolf defeated Drew McIntyre and The Miz in the other qualifier. Then, Styles decked Corbin with a Phenomenal Forearm to get the 1-2-3 to secure his championship opportunity. He will face Rollins at Money in the Bank for the title on May 19 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.

It caught many fans off-guard that WWE pulled the trigger on Rollins-Styles already. He just joined the Red Brand last week. Most everyone earmarked this match for SummerSlam or even WrestleMania 36. You’ll get no complaints from the WWE Universe. Nobody wanted Corbin to get a title shot.

BEST OF THE REST: RAW LOOKS LIKE SMACKDOWN

Pardon members of the WWE Universe if they had to check their calendars to make sure it was Monday and not Tuesday. Corbin and the re-introduced version of Bobby Roode, now known as “Robert Roode,” were the only match winners not on SmackDown Live in 2018.

In fact, the first Universal Championship triple-threat qualifier match featured three former SmackDown members in Styles, Mysterio and Joe. The Blue Brand domination continued with Naomi defeating Billie Kay of The IIconics in a singles match, Cesaro defeating Cedric Alexander and RAW and SmackDown Women’s Champ Becky Lynch beating Alicia Fox. Then, Styles won big in the main event. The Miz also played a prominent role in the other triple-threat qualifier won by Corbin.

BIG WINNER: BRAY WYATT

Nobody quite knows what to think of the Mister Rogers meets Dexter Morgan version of Bray Wyatt that debuted on Monday Night RAW this week. In a segment titled “Firefly Fun House,” Wyatt appeared in a taped scene with the look and feel of a PBS children’s program that featured the creepy bird and rocking chair doll featured in vignettes recently.

Wyatt spoke about being a bad man in the past. He said he changed after being punished in barbaric fashion for being bad. However, viewers quickly learned all was not well in the Firefly Fun House. Wyatt ended the segment by taking a chainsaw to a cardboard cutout in the likeness of his Eater of Worlds persona.

The WWE Universe on social media got so worked up on debating the segment that “#Firefly Fun House” and Bray Wyatt remained trending on Twitter for several hours over night. Whether you liked or hated the segment, Firefly Fun House got people talking. Consider that a win for Wyatt, who hadn’t appeared on WWE TV since August 13, 2018.

BIG LOSER: ROBERT ROODE

WWE hoped we might think their rebooted version of the former NXT Champion might compare to Ravishing Rick Rude, but instead it just seemed like Bobby Roode’s mustachioed evil twin.

Don’t get me wrong, Roode needed a heel turn. The only problem is that it’s probably a year too late. Any heat or buzz his character had died during the past year of a bland run with Chad Gable as the “Glorious” tag team. Roode got lost in the shuffle on his initial call-up to SmackDown Live and the move to RAW last year did him no favors, either.

The booking made no sense. Roode gets little buzz out of defeating Ricochet in his first main roster singles match since being split from Aleister Black. News broke earlier in the day that Black, his wife, Zelina Vega, and Andrade would head to SmackDown together, despite all three being announced on the RAW roster last week. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to start building up Ricochet.

WWE made a mistake in having Ricochet put over a rebooted Superstar with no traction. Of the two, The One and Only seems more likely to emerge as a breakout star this year, but WWE handed him a rough start.

HIGH FIVE

1.  Universal Championship Contenders – The two triple-threat matches provided must-see TV. Three of the greatest wrestlers of their generation – Styles, Mysterio and Joe – tore the house down in the opener. All three received spotlight moments before Styles got the win. Joe continued to look like an unstoppable monster. Mysterio continued to defy Father Time with breathtaking athleticism at 44 years old. The second triple-threat with Miz, Drew McIntyre and Corbin came off flawlessly. Corbin had the most steam coming off his WrestleMania win over Kurt Angle. Fans grumbled at his victory, but it made sense. Furthermore, it came in a slimy way with him stealing a win from McIntyre, who laid out Miz with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre still looked like a beast, and Miz got great babyface energy from the crowd.

2. Sami Zayn – Another week, another incredible, scorched-earth promo against the fans. Zayn addressed the accusations from the WWE Universe that he’s a bitter man. He not only disputed those claims, but added he experienced absolute jubilation away from WWE. He only started getting anxiety when he knew he had to return. Why? The fans. He’s holding every one of us online trolls accountable for our negativity. Then, he put the cherry on top, telling Des Moines fans to go to Hell.

3. Lacey Evans – The Lady of WWE picked her spot yet again. She pounced on Lynch as she had Alicia Fox in the Dis-Arm-Her and suckerpunched The Man to the mat. Then, Evans added one more good, stiff Woman’s Right for good measure. Though the match with Fox didn’t work well, the overall effect of the segment worked. WWE wanted more heat for Evans before announcing her title shot against Lynch at Money in the Bank and they got it.

4. Viking Raiders – Another week, another name change for the NXT Tag Team Champions. Fans universally panned the change from War Raiders to The Viking Experience last week. As a result, the Viking Raiders became a thing. Furthermore, WWE teased a potential title shot already. Erik (Raymond Rowe) and Ivar (Hanson) squashed The Lucha House Party before their match even started. Afterward, RAW Tag Team Champs Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins said they weren’t about to lose their titles to some smelly vikings. Call it a guess that we get another multi-team match for the tag belts at Money in the Bank.

5. Cesaro – WWE surprised us right before RAW aired with the news that the Swiss Cyborg will now call the Red Brand his home. Nobody knows yet if The Bar is disbanded. Cesaro’s tag team partner Sheamus remains out with a concussion he suffered on the SmackDown Live from Brooklyn right after WrestleMania. Sheamus remains on SmackDown as far as we know right now. In a hotly-contested match, Cesaro scored a victory over former Cruiserweight Champ Cedric Alexander. This means one of two things. Either Cesaro will receive a push and we will be in line for some tremendous technical wrestling in the singles title scene, or Alexander ate a meaningless L to a guy who wasn’t even on the RAW roster at the start of the day.

LOW FIVE

1. Naomi – In a little under five minutes, Naomi registered a singles win over Billie Kay. This appeared to try to establish the former SmackDown Women’s Champion’s ability to succeed on her own. However, the match had no time to develop, little storyline and questionable room to advance. The IIconics teased Naomi that she had no one to have her back since Bayley left for SmackDown. It seems like a set up to have Naomi team with someone else to challenge Billie Kay and Peyton Royce for the tag belts some time in the future. As usual, anything involving the women’s tag team division winds up being quick and confusing.

2. Cedric Alexander – WWE goes to the trouble of two different video packages to make a big deal out of his roster move. Then, they book him to lose to a guy we didn’t know would be on RAW at the start of the day. As mentioned above, no problems with this if Cesaro is getting a singles push. Otherwise, why did Alexander lose this match? It would seem a curious way to start a guy promoted from 205 Live.

3. Ricochet – Much like with Alexander, we find out The One and Only will actually get to work singles matches. So, naturally, WWE books him to lose to a guy who has flatlined on both RAW and SmackDown over the past two years. Well done, WWE booking gods.

4. RAW Opening Promo Segment – Little got accomplished after Triple H set up the scenario for the triple-threat matches and the main event. Universal Champion Seth Rollins got a home state pop from the crowd but fizzled on the mic a bit. Then, the endless parade of challengers made this predictable, set-up segment for the rest of the show get bogged down. Even though RAW lasts three hours, WWE put more than enough talent on this roster to avoid lengthy introductions that don’t go anywhere.

5. Lucha House Party – Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado do little more than get squashed. It seems like a waste of talent. We already know the Viking Raiders are fierce and can demolish anyone. Serving up Lucha House Party like a pinata acted as filler and didn’t give us a whole lot we didn’t already know.

RELATED: Laying The Smack Down: Superstar Shake-Up Edition

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts and remember to subscribe by email.

Follow Us On

Facebook Page |  Twitter | Instagram | Facebook Group | Twitch | YouTube

Categories
Cast and Crew Editors Picks Wrestling Professional Wrestling Road To WrestleMania Spotlight TV and Cinema WrestleMania WWE WWE Hall of Fame

The Honky Tonk Villain Gets His Hall Call

Three decades ago, WWF fans knew when the theme music for one of the greatest villains in the promotion’s history declared “he’s got long sideburns, his hair slicked back, he’s coming to your town in a pink Cadillac” that they were paying to boo The Honky Tonk Man.

He may be the inductee in the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame class with whom younger fans are least familiar, but his impact still resonates today. It’s hard to imagine musically-inclined heels such as Elias, Aiden English, Jeff Jarrett and WCW’s West Texas Rednecks (Curt Henning, Virgil, Barry & Kendall Wyndham, and Bobby Duncam Jr.) without the work of The Honky Tonk Man. The Elvis lookalike served as the WWF’s hottest heel for a record-setting run of 64 weeks as Intercontinental Champion from 1987-88.

 

Some may not know that Wayne Ferris (Honky Tonk Man’s real name) is the real-life cousin to Jerry “The King” Lawler. The now 66-year-old Ferris began his career wrestling with his training partner Koko B. Ware in smaller promotions, making his way through the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Jim Crockett Promotions, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and Stampede Wrestling, among other promotions, from the start of his career in 1977 through the early 1980s.

He made his televised debut for the WWF on the September 28, 1986, episode of Wrestling Challenge, defeating Terry Gibbs. Though he was originally intended to be a fan favorite Elvis impersonator, he took a heel turn after cutting a series of promos with Jesse “The Body” Ventura that insulted fans in a similar fashion to the brand of comedy at the time from comedian Andy Kaufman. Soon after, the Honky Tonk Man took on Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart as his manager and began a memorable feud with then fan favorite Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Honky’s record 464-day run as Intercontinental Champion began on the June 13, 1987, episode of Superstars with a victory over Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Ironically, Vince McMahon reportedly had to be talked into to giving Honky Tonk Man a chance as champion by none other than massive fan favorite Hulk Hogan, who befriended Ferris personally at the time.

As a champion, Honky Tonk Man gained a reputation as an any-dirty-tricks player who would do anything to retain his championship. He frequently got himself disqualified or counted out against challengers such as Steamboat, Bruno Sammartino, George “The Animal” Steele and Billy Jack Haynes to stay champion.

Honky Tonk Man began perhaps his greatest feud in September of 1987, taking on a challenge from uber fan favorite Randy “The Macho Man” Savage. The first nationally-televised match between the two occurred on Superstars on October 3, 1987, and Honky’s championship was only saved with interference by fellow Jimmy Hart stable members and 2019 WWE Hall of Fame inductees, The Hart Foundation. Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart ran into the ring and attacked Savage, allowing Honky to retain by disqualification. Savage’s manager, Miss Elizabeth, tried to stop the attack on Macho Man, but Honky shoved her down. She retreated to the locker room and enlisted the aid of future Mega Powers ally Hulk Hogan to save Savage. Honky frequently kept up the heat in the feud with Savage by making unwanted advances on Miss Elizabeth.

 

After wrapping up his program with Savage, Honky Tonk Man battled another fellow 2019 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Beefcake often threatened to cut Honky Tonk Man’s trademark “duck-tail” haircut at the time. However, Honky always managed to maintain the upper hand. Right before Beefcake was to get his final shot at Honky, The Barber was ambushed by “The Outlaw” Ron Bass the week prior to the show. It was announced that Honky would face a mystery challenger at SummerSlam. During SummerSlam, Honky took the mic and said he didn’t care who his opponent was. That’s when Ultimate Warrior raced out from backstage and pinned Honky in 31 seconds to end his record run at one year, two months, and 27 days.

 

He moved down the card after those days, joining fellow Jimmy Hart stable member Greg “The Hammer” Valentine as a tag team act titled Rhythm and Blues. Honky wound up his first stint with WWF in 1991 as a heel color commentator alongside Rowdy Roddy Piper and Vince McMahon on Superstars.

Honky’s second run with the WWF from 1997-2001 was memorable because he served as a manager and mentor for future Degeneration X member and fellow 2019 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Billy Gunn, who had a short-lived gimmick where he was known as “Rockabilly. It was Gunn’s and Outlaw Jesse James’ heel turn on Honky that eventually spawned The New Age Outlaws, one of the greatest tag teams of the Attitude Era.

Honky appeared again in WWE in 2008 in a memorable appearance when Santino Marella was attempting to break his record tenure as an Intercontinental Champion, often displaying a “Honk-a-Meter” sign to denote how close he was to the 64 weeks as champion. Honky was voted in on Cyber Sunday and defeated Marella by disqualification, wrestling as a babyface for the first time with the WWE.

 

Though he is often underappreciated, Honky Tonk Man is a deserving member of the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame class as one of the guys who influenced dastardly heels of future generations. He often utilized what is now known as “champion’s advantage” and other under-handed tactics that are common with heels in the modern era. Here’s a look at some of the Honky Tonk Man’s greatest moments:

RELATED: WRESTLE THOUGHTS | WrestleMania 35 Main Event

RELATED: RAW Womens Title Triple Threat is Best for Business

RELATED: WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts and remember to subscribe by email.

Follow Us On

Facebook Page |  TwitterInstagram | Facebook Group | Twitch | YouTube