Erick Rowan v. Luke Harper Match on Raw Illustrates WWE’s Poor Booking Decisions

Since the members of the Wyatt Family each went their separate ways a few months ago, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan had been mostly kept apart. Rowan and Harper were participants in the Survivor Series main event on opposing teams, where it looked like the beginning of an angle between the two was subtly teased.

Following Survivor Series, Rowan went into a program with Big Show, leading us to the silly “Stairs Match” on this Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view. Harper, for his part, has been invovled in a program with Dolph Ziggler ever since abruptly winning the Intercontinental Championship from the Showoff on the Raw before Survivor Series. The two will meet once again in a Ladder Match this Sunday for the title.

Basic booking so far, keeping the two former tag team partners and members of the Wyatt Family close enough that you remember their previous bond but far enough apart that when they eventual collided it would be special.

Then Monday’s episode of Raw rolled around and – in a move that illustrates the poor booking decisions of WWE and the hastily thrown together (and likely rewritten on the fly) storylines – Rowan and Harper were having their showdown. With no buildup. With no stakes. And with barely a mention of it before the match began.

In an even more head scratching move, the match was a two-minute DQ finish. The crowd was dead for the entire thing and the show quickly moved back into terrible comedy Slammy Awards mode following the end of the contest.

This is the way the feud ends: Not with a bang but a whimper.

I’m not saying that Luke Harper v. Erick Rowan is a main event feud but more could have been squeezed out of this than a two-minute throwaway segment on another lackluster Raw. And, sure, WWE will likely keep going with these two, pitting them against one another on several more television shows, then maybe paying it off with a pay-per-view match that will feel meaningless because of all the matches before it.

WWE can always ramp it up and try to make a match feel special with video packages; and they do a damn good job at that. But no matter how great the video department is in Stamford, a poorly put together program is poor.

We got further evidence of WWE’s waste of matchups again this week when Dolph Ziggler faced Seth Rollins on Raw, which – of course – ended with a Rollins win thanks to interference because the company painted themselves into a corner and couldn’t have one guy go over the other clean.

Part of it certainly has to do with a lack of jobber matches and the need for instant gratification, along with having to fill so much airtime each week. Part of it is also Vince McMahon quickly changing storylines on the fly, as he is known to do. Either way, it’s a big reason why the product is currently suffering.

Video: Trailer for The Rock’s Upcoming Movie, ‘San Andreas’

The trailer for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s upcoming film, “San Andreas,” released today. In it, The Rock plays a search and rescue helicopter pilot who – during a huge earthquake – has to save his daughter… and San Francisco. Of course, his estranged wife is along for the ride with him, making all this even more dramatic!

All kidding aside, The Rock has rapidly become one of Hollywood’s most bankable action stars and this movie should prove no different.

WWE’s February PPV is Now Called ‘Fast Lane’

WWE has changed the name of its February pay-per-view from Elimination Chamber to Fast Lane, according to The news comes via an email from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, which plays host to the event on February 22, 2015.

The new name ties in with the “Road to WrestleMania” concept and one would imagine that it means the Elimination Chamber match will not be a part of the event.

Looking for the Perfect Wrestling-Related Holiday Gift?

It’s the holiday season and if you’re still looking for that perfect gift for the wrestling fan in your life (or just something cool for yourself, as a reward for doing all that shopping) you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled a list of some of the best wrestling-related items available, all from Amazon so you don’t even have to leave your house. Best of all, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime right here, so you’ll get free two-day shipping as well.

71ztgWyLyaL._SL1000_- First up we have the brand new WWE Monopoly game. The traditional tokens have been replaced by the WWE Championship title, the Money in the Bank briefcase, a boot, a ladder, a microphone and the WWE logo.

– Buying for a video gamer? WWE 2K15 is available on all major platforms.

– Looking for something for the kiddos? Check out the Mattel Wrestling Mask Three-Pack including masks for Kane, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio.

You can also grab officially licensed WWE championship belts like the Intercontinental Championship, WWE Championship, US Title, and more.

Of course, no children’s holiday would be complete without Mattel action figures. Grab the Wrestling Champion Four-Pack right here, which includes The Rock, Rey Mysterio, Steve Austin and John Cena, along with the World Heavyweight Championship, Attitude Era WWE Championship, Winged Eagle Championship belt and the Spinner Belt.

– WWE isn’t the only wrestling company out there, you know? You can also get a pretty good selection of TNA DVDs and action figures at great prices.

– Don’t forget Ring of Honor. You can get a bunch of DVDs from the company at great prices as well. Catch CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan and more.

roku- My highest recommendation is the Roku Streaming Stick. It’s under $50 and you can watch WWE Network, plus a host of other services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. The YouTube channel is great for catching up on ROH, TNA, and a host of independent promotions.

Video: CM Punk UFC Press Conference Highlights

Following the announcement that CM Punk signed a multi-fight deal with UFC, the organization has released some highlights from his introductory press conference.

Punk says he’s excited for a new challenge and feels better than he has in a long time. We’ll see how well the transition from pro wrestling to MMA goes for the Straight Edge Superstar but, at 36-years-old and not having a traditional wrestling background like fellow wrestler-turned-fighter Brock Lesnar, it’ll be a big hill to climb.

Kurt Angle is Staying in TNA

Kurt Angle will stay in TNA, despite rumors that he might be returning to WWE for one more run, according to Vince Russo. The former WWE, WCW and TNA creative team member had Angle on his “The Swerve” podcast, where the news was confirmed.

While it would have been cool to see Angle back in the WWE for a short run – the pop when his music hit and a confrontation with Rusev would have been amazing – it didn’t really seem all that close to happening. Many were reporting that Angle wouldn’t be able to pass a WWE physical and there were concerns about how his body would hold up even if he did pass.

According to Angle, the relationship with he and Vince McMahon has been repaired, as the two are on speaking terms. He also went on to deny speculation of heat between he and Triple H, as well as rumors that Triple H was the one stopping a potential Angle return, saying that they had always gotten along and you can’t believe everything you hear.

Angle kept the door open to a WWE return, at least in a training or agent capacity. For now, though, he’s excited about the future of TNA with its new television partner, Destination America.

Video: Vince McMahon Discusses the WWE Roster with Steve Austin

Vince McMahon’s appearance on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast, The Steve Austin Show, which was broadcast live on the WWE Network, was full of memorable moments. The good people at Cageside Seats have the full rundown but among them were Vince McMahon’s apology to CM Punk for delivering release papers on his wedding day, admitting that Vince was the one who decided Brock Lesnar should end The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak and saying that “Macho Man” Randy Savage would “absolutely” be in the WWE Hall of Fame someday.

WWE has only released one video clip so far, in which Vince McMahon discusses the current WWE product and roster. Austin continually pressed McMahon on the quality of the show and that the boys in the back were “walking on egg shells” and Vince basically responded by saying many performers lacked the ambition and desire to “grab the brass ring.”

John Cena v. Seth Rollins Tables Match Added to TLC Card

The Anonymous Raw General Manager has added John Cena v. Seth Rollins in a Tables Match to the TLC pay-per-view card. Logical fallacies of a one-night-only GM making matches for a pay-per-view aside, the announcement was made after a confrontation between Rollins and Cena during the opening of Monday’s episode of Raw.

Also added to that match was the stipulation that should Cena lose, he will no longer be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. (Remember that WWE has a world title?)

The official card for TLC, which is less than two weeks away, is now at three matches. Joining the Cena-Rollins skirmish are Bray Wyatt v. Dean Ambrose in a TLC match and Ryback v. Kane in a Chairs Match.

Ringside Reads: New Japan’s Streaming Service, CM Punk Fallout, Tonight’s Raw and More

It was a busy day in the pro wrestling world, with New Japan Pro Wrestling launching its own WWE Network-style streaming service and more fallout from CM Punk’s tell-all interview with Colt Cabana. Let’s take a look at what the interwebs are saying today:

• New Japan’s aforementioned streaming service, New Japan World, is available now and includes archived content and live events, including the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 9. It costs around $8.50 per month in US dollars and is currently available on desktops, tablets and smartphones. No announcement has been made about Roku, Apple TV or console availability. [Wrestlezone]

• Steve Austin says he plans to ask Vince McMahon about CM Punk during his live podcast with the WWE Chairman, airing on the WWE Network following tonight’s broadcast of Raw. [Cageside Seats]

• Ring of Honor’s Top Prospect Tournament returns to Nashville in January. [ROH Wrestling]

• Chris Jericho was one of the many people CM Punk mentioned in his talk with Colt Cabana. Today, Jericho responded. [Cageside Seats]

• A tag team turmoil match has been added to tonight’s Raw to determine the number one contenders to the straps. []