Russo is joined on today’s show by former WCW & WWE Superstar, Big Vito.
Russo opens the show by pointing out that four hours of wrestling in the same day is simply too much for him. He finds it difficult to sit through four hours of anything, and professional wrestling certainly isn’t on his list of favourite things to watch right now.
Vito thought the Bobby Roode/Mojo Rawley match was a terrible way to start the show. He says that Roode isn’t over, and the fans didn’t care about this match. He thought that Roode should have had a good, veteran opponent in this match to ensure that his first Title defence went off properly. Mojo Rawly certainly wasn’t that guy.
Russo talks about the WWE Title match that opened the main PPV. He says the announce team consistently oversold the injury to Kevin Owens’ ankle during this bout when Owens barely sold the injury himself. Vito thinks this is a running theme in WWE, and he says he’s seen this type of problem plenty of times before. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and the announce team was definitely on a different page than the performers in this match.
Russo also thought this match had a huge plot hole from a writing perspective, because this entire storyline has revolved around Shane MCMahon and Daniel Bryan, and yet they were nowhere to be found on Sunday night. Vito agrees, and thought their absence in this match made the match feel anticlimactic.
Speaking of anticlimactic, Russo thought the Smackdown Tag Team Title match between The Usos and Benjamin & Gable failed to go anywhere, and the finish fell flat. Vito agrees, and he thought that Benjamin & Gable were going to win last night given the length of this program. He also felt the finish fell flat, and he thought the fans were robbed by The Usos’ quick two-fall victory.
Vito thought the Men’s Rumble match was fine but it seemed to drag on at some points. He points out that if you’re a younger talent entering the rumble, you need to take advantage of the veteran guys you’re in the ring with. John Cena was in there bumping for everyone, yet when Aiden English entered the match he didn’t even look at Cena. Instead, he just ran to the corner and missed his chance to shine.
Russo wonders if the entire wrestling industry has lost its collective mind. He also wonders if the creative team and all the wrestlers are starting to think that these are real fights. He simply can’t believe WWE is booking for the marks right now by putting over Nakamura and Asuka in the Rumble matches.
He points out that WWE is never going to get new fans if they continue to book like this. Rule #1 in the wrestling business is to not book for the casual fans. WWE has those people already, and they need to be focusing on appealing to people who aren’t watching wrestling. Putting Nakamura and Asuka over in the Royal Rumble matches isn’t going to draw any new, mainstream eyes to WWE’s product.
Russo thought it was embarrassing that the Philadelphia crowd chanted, “You both suck!” when Reigns and John Cena had a stare-down during the Rumble match. He points out that these two guys don’t script the shows; they just show up each day and bust their ass to entertain the fans. He adds that Cena carried WWE on his back for the past decade, and Reigns draws more money right now than Nakamura ever will.
He says that he if was booking the show, he would have put The Miz over. Russo says The Miz can appeal to people on a mainstream level, and he doesn’t understand what Miz is lacking in the eyes of WWE officials.
Speaking about the Universal Title match, Big Vito points out that Brock Lesnar failed to show up in great shape yet again. He’d like to see Lesnar re-dedicate himself to training because he hasn’t represented himself well these last few appearances. Russo also thought the match was very predictable in the sense that Kane was just there to take the pinfall.
Russo admits that the Women’s Rumble was much better than he anticipated. WWE had 11 surprise entrants for this match and he really didn’t think they’d be able to find that many former talents to return. He also liked that they protected the women and gave them breaks throughout the match on the outside of the ring.
Russo was not happy with Stephanie McMahon giving a shout-out to Chyna on-air during the Rumble. He says that Stephanie McMahon should be embarrassed to even speak Chyna’s name on air. He’d be fine with it if Michael Cole or someone else said something, but not Stephanie. He knows that Stephanie wouldn’t even take a call from Chyna when she was still alive, so mentioning her on-air to appease fans was embarrasing in his opinion.
He also thought it was stupid that Stephanie would play dumb to Rousey’s arrival in WWE since she runs the company. Cole flat-out asked Stephanie if she knew Rousey was going to be there, and Stephanie said no. From a creative perspective, Russo thinks this was stupid and insulting to fans’ intelligence.
Russo says that Stephanie McMahon is an egomaniac in real life, and that has nothing to do with her on-air character. In his opinion, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte should have been on commentary for the Women’s Rumble match, not Stephanie. The two Champions certainly would have done a better job, but Stephanie simply had to involve herself in this groundbreaking moment.
That sums up today’s episode of Vince Russo’s The Brand. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya tomorrow for another recap!