Each week, we break down the world of professional wrestling and examine two of the polar opposite ends of the spectrum: one thing that was by far the worst thing (Cheap Heat) and the best thing (Cheap Pop) to happen over the past 7 days in sports entertainment. So, what went down this week that we loved and hated about the business?
What's the highlight of the week? There were many. The triple threat Intercontinental title match was hugely notable, but I am going to have to go with Ambrose's antics surrounding Seth Rollin's MITB briefcase.
On Friday Night SmackDown, Ambrose fought off a ring invasion by The Authority's Kane and Rollins, but their humiliation did not stop there. In a move that further cements his ever-growing loose cannon persona, Ambrose made off with Seth's prize possession—much to the crowd's delight.
Not since the days of Stone Cold has a disrespectful anti-authority figure—save CM Punk—been quite this over.
Everything about him works so well; his ad-libbed unscripted ranting, the crazed and frantic eyes, his manic grin, a style that encompasses solid brawling with an impressive array of technical prowess.
For a short while, I wondered how the MITB contract is actually structured in the WWE Universe rule book. Is it actually only usable by the original winner? Or could anyone physically holding it effectively cash it in? How fun would it be if Ambrose had tried to cash it in and actually use it to win the championship?
But my pondering over this was cut short, for Ambrose decided he would duly return the case on Monday Night Raw, but not before booby trapping it with a neon green paint trap, naturally.
I think if another superstar had done such a trick, many would have written it off as childish and "the end of WWE", but as it happens, Ambrose made it work perfectly. His escaping to the crowd and gleeful watching of the soiled and sulking Seth was genius.
I am not one bit bored with this feud, I feel it is akin to the likes of Stone Cold and The Corporation Rock all over again.
Let us hope WWE allows it continue a bit longer.
A few months ago, I reported on WWE receiving a bad rap for a comment made by Lana, which some of the mainstream press claimed to be a tasteless reference to the MH17 plane crash.
WWE released a statement to say no offense or reference had been intended, the section was scripted weeks before the crash even took place. In my opinion, they did not do anything wrong in that instance. The comments were far too wide-reaching to link to the crash and I put it down to journalists trying to spin sensation out of sand. But lesson learned, right WWE? Let's play this one safe for a bit.
Wrong. On last week's Monday Night Raw, the Rusev and Lana story continued. The segment involved a verbal altercation between The Big Show and Lana. It cultivated with the 7'2 veteran yanking the giant Russian flag down from the rafters on to the canvas floor, much to the disgust of The Bulgarian Brute and his handler, but to the delight of the crowd, who erupted into a whooping "USA, USA" chant.
Soon enough, comments from keyboard warriors began to mount, though. There were accusations that WWE was being disrespectful to Russia, and as a result, the WWE website quickly put out an apology piece. But the damage is once again done. WWE have been tarred with the racism brush and being negatively reported on by sources that ordinarily have zero interest in our world.
Do I think they were trying to offend? No I don't. If we are going down that road, what about the months of Lana bashing America?
For those that beg for the Attitude Era, here is a prime example of why it is simply not a viable option. It was a product of its time—a brilliant one yes, but a controversial one.
In this day and age, no matter what you do, someone, somewhere will take offense, and because of the Internet they are able to whip up a big stink quickly. Remember HBK putting the Canadian flag up his nose? Surely, that is worse than pulling a flag down! I am sure it was offensive to many, but I do not recall WWE apologizing for it.
All in all, I think this is the fourth time the Rusev storyline has made my Heat section in as many months.
Make of that what you will.
So there you have it, my two choices for the week. What do YOU think are the Cheap Pop and Cheap Heat this week in professional wrestling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!