Welcome back to 10 Thoughts on Raw, and big thanks to Pulse Glazer for picking up the column last week as I wallowed in pain and suffering. And no, I’m not talking about the walk-out ending of last week’s Raw. Before I talk about that, I would like to mention this week’s Caught in the Ropes wherein I highlight another five members of the FCW roster.
Now, let’s talk about that vote of no confidence, shall we? Yeah, Steven Gepp, CB, Mike Gojira, Blair Douglas, and many others ’round here have already discussed the issue, but I want to approach it from a different angle. If you don’t want to read another rant on the issue, it won’t hurt my feelings if you skip ahead. Honestly, when I saw the end of the show, I didn’t think all that much of it. The story was heading towards its own inevitable conclusion, with HHH literally or figuratively wrestling for control of the company against another party, most likely Vince McMahon. Plus, to be honest, I was already tiring of the storyline and just wanted the whole damn thing to be over and done with.
However, the backlash caught me off-guard. Many writers have noted the widespread dissatisfaction among the IWC for the current state of wrestling. You’ll get no argument from me; wrestling as a whole is down right now. Mr. Gepp has also noted the rampant nostalgia among writers and commenters. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and often the easiest way to describe something abstract is to compare it to something else. However, the nostalgia bent can be pernicious if not understood, and that’s what I really want to get at.
I was browsing through some videos on Youtube when I noticed one commenter’s prescription for what ails the WWE. Yeah, I know that the comments section on Youtube is a veritable no-man’s-land for well-reasoned, articulate thought, but something struck me. This person’s cure: bring back the Attitude Era. Like the Attitude Era was a singular set or performer that could just be brought back on a whim. But listening to a lot of people out there in IWC-land, it seems like that’s exactly what a lot of people want. They want the Attitude Era back, or nWo-era WCW, ECW, Smoky Mountain, Georgia Championship Wrestling, or the Rock n’ Wrestling era. Fans who were cultivated during that era don’t simply want the product of TNA or WWE to improve, they want them to revert back to their earlier years.
The Attitude Era is never coming back. The WWE has tried to, in a sense, reinvent the Rock n’ Wrestling era with a more kid-friendly product for modern-day, and it’s failed. ECW is dead. WCW is dead. They can’t be revived. The idea that the only way forward for wrestling is to move backwards is a flawed concept. The industry, like any other form of entertainment, has evolved, and while it may take cues from previous years, an entire movement can’t be summoned back from the ether. They had their time, and we may love them, but they’ll never revert to what they used to be. The idea is akin to NBA analysts branding new talent with the dreaded â€œNext Michael Jordanâ€ tag. Jordan can’t be duplicated, and insisting that he can only serves to skew our view of newer talent.
All fans can hope for is that the WWE, TNA, or any other promotion can take the lessons learned from their most popular eras, and hopefully more lessons from their least successful, and give us something new. It might meld traits from the Attitude Era, Rock n’ Wrestling, ECW, or any number of other â€œgolden ageâ€ eras and promotions, but waiting for wrestling to go back to â€œthe good ol’ daysâ€ is a fool’s dream. When things turn around and get better, and they will, it will most likely be in a way we don’t fully expect. Okay, enough of that, and on to…
1. How is the WWE, in the current storyline, a more dangerous place now than in years past? I want to hear someone explain that. For years, we’ve seen people assaulted backstage, valets put through tables, men bitten by snakes, and Mabel, but not one character would think of filing lawsuits and/or walking out on the company. I could maybe see that kind of angle coming from young guys like Dolph, but why would veterans follow suit? You might think things are bad now, Mark Henry, but at least nobody’s going to hit you with a barbed-wire bat or throw you through a window.
2. Great, HHH is setting himself up as the face and the rest of the WWE as the heels. Wait a second, the cameramen and techs walked out last week, so are they back now? Someone’s operating the cameras and lighting and production. What the hell is it, WWE? Did you get scabs to pick up their work? Where are Punk, Cena, and Orton? Well, here’s Cena which is…not exactly what I wanted. What, Cena sides with the company? Shock. I guess we’ll see the rest of the hold-outs here.
3. Thank you, Punk for being the voice of reason. â€œThis is professional wrestling, it’s not ballet,â€ is the counter-argument against this entire storyline. That’s why this whole angle doesn’t make sense. IT’S PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! If someone’s not getting knocked out on their way to the ring, if someone’s not getting assaulted, if there are no referees getting pummeled, then something’s wrong. There’s a certain sense of fun with these four guys trying to run the show on their own, but the whole angle still doesn’t work.
4. Vince showing up; it was only a matter of time. Jesus, the Board of Directors thing again? More legal maneuvering and blah, blah, blah. Come on, Vince, just say that Johnny Ace is running the show now and get it over with. You’ve been heading in this direction for months, let’s just get on with it.
5. So, is Alberto del Rio part of the Christian/Ziggler/Swagger/Rhodes stable or not? This looks to be the new Corporate stable, and del Rio seems like a natural fit, so why wouldn’t he be out there with the rest of the guys?
6. Just the thought of a Henry/Big Show feud for the WHC is almost enough to put me in a coma.
7. Well, it’s looking like Mark Henry’s push is coming to an end. Getting beat to hell by Big Show and needing a Cody Rhodes run-in to save him from the pin doesn’t make him look dominant, which is what his whole push was based on.
8. Damn, I’m not looking forward to weekly Johnny Ace promos. No, John, I don’t like you ’cause you have all the charisma of a cardboard cut-out and talk like you have a terminal case of laryngitis. Now he fires JR. I guess that’s a quick way to get heat, but I don’t relish Michael Cole taking over the reigns on commentary again. This sucks.
9. I’ve been watching some Mason Ryan matches from FCW, and I have found one thing he’s good at: serving as a poster-child for steroid abuse. Seriously, that guy has ballooned since his developmental days.
10. Crowd is DEAD for most of this Punk/del Rio match. I mean DEAD. Any possible momentum Alberto had at one time is gone. And here comes Johnny Ace again and…Miz and Truth are back. Of course. For an episode of Raw that is so desperately trying to shock its fans, none of its twists have been remotely surprising, with the possible exception of J.R. being fired. This whole angle, everything that’s been going on in the WWE the last few months, reeks of a desperate company thinking about going all-in, then chickening out at the last minute. Just out of curiosity, I went back and looked at old Raw ratings. On October 2nd, 2000 Raw pulled out a 5.4 rating. Last week’s walk-out episode did a 3.05. At some point, WWE, you’ll actually need to pull the trigger on something and not fall back on the status quo, or else you’re going to be stuck in this rut for longer than is necessary. I firmly believe that the WWE and wrestling in general will get better, but this is the kind of show that prolongs the crap instead of diminishing it.
Tags: air boom, alberto del rio, christian, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, HHH, jack swagger, Jim Ross, john cena, John Morrison, Mark Henry, mason ryan, miz, R-Truth, randy orton, Raw, Shaemus, vince mcmahon, WWE