As regular readers will recall, storyline continuity is a major sticking point for me. I’ve been accused of being anal-retentive, and even told I have a mild case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but is it too much to ask for some consistency in storylines and characters within the two action-adventure shows I watch every week?
TODAY’S ISSUE: Draft Lottery Continuity (or the lack thereof)
Not long before the draft lottery began, Carlito invited Big Show to be his guest on the Thursday night version of the Cabana, and made Show an over he couldn’t refuse; he asked Show to be his bodyguard. But Show did refuse, as I assume he failed to see the benefit of accepting the gig. I wonder what kind of dental plan Carlito was offering. Upon hearing Show’s refusal, Carlito did what any sane, rational human being would do: he tricked Show into eating a POISONED apple, and recruited Matt Morgan to take Show’s spot in Carlito’s two-man gang. Mrs. Morgan must’ve been SO proud of her boy for accepting such a prestigious job offer!
But here’s the thing. The ensuing short-lived feud between Big Show and Carlito/Morgan never ended to Show’s satisfaction, and one month later, both Carlito and Big Show were drafted to Raw. That’s where my issues begin. Show’s been on Raw for a couple of weeks now along with Carlito, and hasn’t even mentioned in passing that Carlito’s still on his radar. One comment backstage about how Show still wants to get his hands on Carlito, or one interruption of the Cabana segment by Show would be all they need to do in order to keep continuity in check. I’m not saying they have to feud right now, just demonstrate that Big Show is still angry about it, and that Carlito needs to look over his shoulder at all times. In fact, it would be a good storyline reason for Carlito to be on the lookout for another heavy, especially since Morgan’s no longer on the roster.
It seems creative believes that by moving a wrestler from one show to another they get a clean slate, and that nothing from before still matters. This is incredibly shortsighted on their part. If Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens hate each other because of the bean-ball incident, that hatred doesn’t fizzle when one or both players get traded to different teams.
I watch both Raw and SmackDown each week, as I’m sure many fans do. I remember when Carlito and Show were feuding on Thursday nights, just as anyone with a three-digit IQ must. Why must WWE insult my intelligence by pretending those events never happened?
Speaking of Carlito, when he won the Intercontinental Title during his very first night on Raw, NOBODY mentioned that less than a year earlier, he won the United States Title during his first night on SmackDown! That would have been a very easy piece on continuity to mention during his match with Mr. Benjamin, but it was overlooked or ignored by JR and the King.
After the final draft pick was announced, The French Phenom Rene Dupree was traded from SmackDown to Raw in the “blockbuster” 11-person deal that saw 3 of the traded wrestlers get released from WWE less than a week after the trade. During his “Raw debut” match, there was no mention of the fact that Dupree was not only on the Raw roster one year ago and drafted by SmackDown during the first draft lottery, but also that two years ago, he was one half of the World Tag Team Champions as a member of La Resistance. Nobody mentioned that Rob Conway is still on Raw, and that there could have been a La Resistance reunion due to Dupree’s return to Raw. Conway didn’t even welcome back his former stable mate in a backstage segment. If your former partner returned after a year, you’d at least go say hello, wouldn’t you?
Last Thursday night, Batista faced Christian in a non-title match in his first in-ring action of THIS run on SmackDown. You’ll recall the Deacon Batista gimmick, which wasn’t that long ago. Anyway, Cole and Tazz failed to mention that Christian faced Batista in a championship match not very long ago on Raw. Again, this is a small point, but why must we fans try to believe that Cole and Tazz don’t realize that fact? Or better yet, do they remember it, but not find it significant enough to mention during the match? Watch a baseball game on television sometime. The announcers talk about the last time the two teams met, the last time this pitcher faced that hitter (even if they were with DIFFERENT TEAMS when their previous showdown occurred), the franchise’s records against each other, their record in games in which they score first, or when leading after 6 innings, or any number of details that help the viewer understand the significance of what they’re watching. So why wouldn’t a wrestling commentator mention a very recent prior match between two men while they face each other again?
BTW, did I see Matt Morgan on SmackDown after he was released from his contract? Obviously he was under contract when they filmed SmackDown a few nights earlier, but do you think WWE buried him in order to help put over the Mexicools knowing that Morgan was going to be let go? Also, I saw a commercial during SmackDown for the ECW One Night Stand DVD, and that commercial featured the Dudley Boys. Nice touch, considering they were among the 18 WWE employees released in the recent bloodletting.
As I’ve stated many times before, the problem is that Vince fired his “continuity writer” a few weeks after hiring him, because he challenged Princess Stephanie’s ideas and threatened the status quo in McMahonland. These are the exact things that writer would have pointed out and prevented, if he were allowed to do his job.
Completely off subject: I just re-watched the Iron Man match from Judgment Day 2000, between Rock and HHH. There were many things about the match that made me nostalgic for that period in WWF history, and one of the big differences from today’s product had to do with the commentary. Jerry “The King” Lawler made a choice during that match. Because the match was SO important in the storylines and in the careers of both men, he called the match like an experienced veteran of the ring wars, and a former multiple time champion. That’s what the King is, by the way, for all you younger fans who only know Lawler as JR’s color man every Monday night. There was no hint of the dirty old man he normally portrays on Raw. Gone were the ridiculous statements about “puppies” and the like. The King made insightful, meaningful comments all throughout the match, and even corrected JR when he got the scores backwards. It felt like a real expert commentary team was calling the action, not a disgusting old pervert who wants to grope the bimbos that are less than half his age. It was a very nice touch, and it greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the match.
The King discussed the amount of energy the wrestlers were expending to execute certain maneuvers. He suggested sound strategies for both men during different situations. He explained that as WWF Champion, the Rock really only needed to play for a tie, because the WrestleMania XII overtime period was NOT allowed per the match stipulations, so the champ would retain his title in the case of a draw.
“Uncle Jerry” ought to try that route more often. A legend in the business deserves to sound like a legend, not a sicko. He came off like a legend during the Iron Man match, and it was fun to hear him call the match in that style along with JR.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – People sometimes say almost exactly, as in, “”She’s wearing almost exactly the same outfit as her sister.” Can you guess what I dislike about that expression?