Russo is joined on today’s show by his co-host, Jeff Lane, Bin Hamin, and Stevie Richards.
Russo points out that professional wrestling has always been based around good versus evil. This year WWE has promoted WrestleMania based on “good wrestling matches” which appeals solely to marks who are going to watch the shows anyways. They’ve lost the casual fans, and they’re never going to get them back if they keep promoting matches based on two good guys tapping each other on the head.
Russo thought the Ronda Rousey/Stephanie McMahon interaction on RAW was very underwhelming. He points out that WWE is pushing Rousey as the baddest woman on the planet, but then Stephanie picked her up and threw her through a table. Rousey laid on the mat selling her stomach while looking up at Triple H and Stephanie, and he just thought the whole thing was lacklustre.
Lane points out that Rousey needs to realize there’s more to life than WWE, and her brand is suffering right now due to the way WWE is presenting her on television. Russo understands that point, but he also notes that WWE might be paying Rousey millions of dollars. If that’s the case, she’s probably going to do what they ask of her so she can continue to cash their cheques.
Russo points out that there’s no heel in the Sasha Banks/Bayley rivalry, and if there are no stakes there’s no reason for him to care about it.
Russo thought the picture-in-picture that WWE implemented during their shows this week to promote WrestleMania was distracting. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor were wrestling on RAW but WWE was promoting A.J. Styles versus Nakamura at WrestleMania in the larger window. Richards thought Rollins and Balor had a “hell of a match” but he thought it happened on the wrong show, given that WrestleMania is just a few days away.
Lane thought this week’s RAW was just a commercial for WrestleMania. He points out that WWE didn’t really do anything new this week, apart from Heyman threatening that Lesnar would leave the company if he fails to retain his Universal Title at WrestleMania.
Richards is confused by the build to John Cena/ Undertaker at WrestleMania. He points out that the build has basically been that The Undertaker’s not going to be there. Hamin thinks people want to see The American Badass return, especially with Kid Rock being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year as well as The Dead Man laying down his coat and hat at the end of last year’s WrestleMania.
Russo partly believes that there’s no way WWE would do all this promotion without having Undertaker show up, but knowing how stupid WWE can be at times, he’s not convinced that Undertaker will be there at all. Lane calls the entire build, “very strange”.
Hamin points out that Nia Jax appears to be “tri-polar” given that she flips from a position of power to a position of weakness in the blink of an eye. He feels that her promo this week should have been more threatening to Bliss, instead of her just crying again. He points out that Jax is heading into WrestleMania as a wounded animal right now.
Russo thought Heyman buried all of RAW’s Superstars during his promo this week, and he wonders why someone like Braun Strowman didn’t come out to confront Lesnar. He also thought it was silly that 5 Superman Punches couldn’t keep Lesnar down. He can’t imagine scripting Steve Austin to hit an opponent with 5 Stunners only to have the opponent hop back up and hit Austin with his finisher. Russo thinks he would have been fired for proposing that during the attitude era, and rightfully so.
Russo says that he wouldn’t put Paul Heyman with Reigns coming out of WrestleMania this year. Instead, he’d book Reigns to win the Title, let the crowd react to Reigns however they like, and then let he’d have Reigns start shooting on the crowd. He thinks that’s exactly the way someone with the physique and attitude of Roman Reigns would react to the boos from the audience.
Russo thinks the the Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon storyline has to be one of the worst written storylines of the year. Lane thought Smackdown’s opening segment this week was a very cheesy, and he notes that if Bryan swerves McMahon at WrestleMania then he’ll forgive this awful segment. Russo points out that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have been “fired from Smackdown”, so it’s obvious to him that they’ll just show up at RAW next Monday.
Russo can’t believe that the last thing we saw before WWE went off air leading into WrestleMania was the WWE Champion tapping the challenger on the head. Lane says this Styles/Nakamura build has to be the worst buildup for any WrestleMania Championship match ever.
Russo contemplates who we might see take over as Smackdown GM after WrestleMania. He has heard rumours that Jeff Jarrett might be in the running for that role, but he points out that the old Vince McMahon that he knew would think that Jarrett would be too southern for that role. Alternately, he thinks Mark Henry would be hilarious and entertaining in the role of Smackdown GM.
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!