Welcome to Week 28.
Well, late again. I swear my schedule has finally let up and by next week I’ll be “back to normalÃ¢â‚¬Â (whatever the hell that means). I’m also planning on watching the second ROH PPV that I have stored on my computer and I promise I will do a thorough recap of that show. I’m actually really interested to see it because frankly it’s been getting damn near universal praise, and after sitting through Unforgiven it might be nice to see what a good PPV with quality matches looks like.
So, I also managed to catch up on a lot of the season premiers (but still haven’t seen too much of this week yet, my poor Tivo’s on overload) and there isn’t a hell of a lot to be excited about.
I obviously liked “ReaperÃ¢â‚¬Â because I’m a Kevin Smith fan and I thought Bret Harrison was hilarious on “The LoopÃ¢â‚¬Â (also, Missy Peregrym, where have you been all my life?). The show’s got a cute premise and could become like a comedy/horror version of Law & Order. There’s a bad guy. Sam has to catch him. He does. The end.
“Dirty Sexy MoneyÃ¢â‚¬Â was a surprise. And a fairly pleasant one at that. Peter Krause’s starring in it, and the “Sports NightÃ¢â‚¬Â connection alone guaranteed I was going to watch the pilot. I was also glad to see Samaire Armstrong back on my TV after memorable stints on “The OCÃ¢â‚¬Â and “EntourageÃ¢â‚¬Â. Plus, Donald Sutherland is yet again playing the maniacal and manipulative old guy character that he seems to play in a new pilot every year. Despite a hokey premise (the ongoing “Who killed my dad?Ã¢â‚¬Â storyline) and stuff thrown in to shock for the sake of shocking (Baldwin’s tranny), it looks like a show that should deliver nicely on a weekly basis.
“Big ShotsÃ¢â‚¬Â was a show that got ripped to shreds by reviews but I’m here to tell you it isn’t that bad. Yes, it does have Joshua Malina and yes he’s from “Sports NightÃ¢â‚¬Â so you gotta assume I’m giving it unfair bias, but the show is actually a pretty decent version of some middle-aged “EntourageÃ¢â‚¬Â. It’s not something worth crawling through the Sahara to watch, but if it’s on I wouldn’t recommend fleeing the room like you would if “According to JimÃ¢â‚¬Â came on.
“The OfficeÃ¢â‚¬Â started off hilarious and then kinda petered out towards the end of its “extended supersized editionÃ¢â‚¬Â. Line of the night/year had to be Dwight’s, “You left the television on. Oh, and you’re cat’s dead.Ã¢â‚¬Â “How I Met Your MotherÃ¢â‚¬Â is now approaching classic status if for nothing else paying off the easiest cliffhanger in the history of TV. “Dary.Ã¢â‚¬Â Also, as a person who is also trying to “win the break-upÃ¢â‚¬Â in real life, I enjoyed watching my boy Ted fight the good fight. Lastly, “Boston LegalÃ¢â‚¬Â brought in John Larroquette, one of my all-time favorite actors. That show is now officially just nostalgia repackaged as new TV. Spader’s better then he was in his 80’s heyday. Shatner’s consistently bringing the awesome. And best of all, they have Dan Fielding and Murphy Brown screwing each other.
Alright, enough scripted television, it’s time to talk about wrestling.
And speaking of dead horses, it’s time to talk again about John Cena.
For Your Consideration the Champ is Who?
Yeah, big shock that I’m talking about Cena. Again. Some people call me a Cena apologist and while I would never refer to myself as that, I will say (and have said) that the guy works harder then anyone else in the business short of Vince himself. John Cena might not be the best guy in the ring and he might not have the Smark love of Samoa Joe or Bryan Danielson, but he has done more good for this business then anyone else lacing up the boots today.
John Cena has never been a backstage cancer. He’s never publicly embarrassed himself (not counting matches). He’s volunteered for charity. He’s gone on national television and presented himself as a professional. Don’t believe me? Watch him on “Larry KingÃ¢â‚¬Â where he tows the company line without looking like a preprogrammed robot. Fans can boo him and plenty seem to enjoy doing it. They’re not sitting on their hands, so good, bad or indifferent he still elicits a reaction from the fans.
Best of all, John Cena filled up time. What does that mean? Well, when you start off RAW, you’re Segment One has to pop. You need someone who’s music will set the crowd off. You need someone who can handle the mic on his own or deal with interplay with less skilled individuals. You need that Steve Austin moment.
John Cena ain’t Steve Austin. However he has that unique ability to shine in any situation that the WWE throws him in. When he opens the show, it immediately gives it a “big timeÃ¢â‚¬Â feel. When the WWE maps out a show, they want it to appeal to the masses as quick as possible. If it’s you or me, we’ll tune in no matter what crap they put up there. But the WWE needs that guy with the remote who’s flipping around to stop and tune in and John Cena is that guy that gets the job done.
Cena does more then the opening interview. He’s generally your main event. He also fills in for several backstage segments. Cena is for better or worse the face of the company.
The injury to John Cena was the only injury that Vince could not handle. He could lose Taker because Taker was merely an attraction. He could lose Batista because he had Rey. He could lose Rey because he had Batista. He could lose Triple H because he had Shawn Michaels. He could lose Shawn Michaels because he had Triple H. Orton and Edge are interchangeable in their roles, be it on RAW or Smackdown. Kennedy and Umaga are newer homegrown talents, and along with CM Punk and Lashley were guys gaining traction but aren’t bedrocks yet.
John Cena was the only constant. He was a guaranteed ratings guy and a guaranteed merchandise guy. No, the ratings aren’t Austin/Rock level by any means and no John Cena is not the crossover superstar that Steve and Dwayne were, but he was the best that they had. John Cena released a CD and a movie and neither of them put the company into financial ruin. He was the perfect guy for right now; down the middle enough to appease Vince and marginally skilled enough to not make a complete fool out of himself in the ring.
Now that he’s gone, the WWE needs to crown a new champion. Worse, they need to crown a new guy to carry the company, and it looks like “No MercyÃ¢â‚¬Â will indicate who’s going to carry the torch. Here’s the suspects:
1) Randy Orton:
He was John Cena’s opponent and by all accounts the future WWE Champion. Unfortunately, everyone with a modem knows that Randy Orton is being fed to Triple H, so his whole feud with Cena was dead in the water. Now, with Cena gone, could the WWE call an audible? Could Vince’s unnatural love of Randy Orton lead to him being the new dominant heel champion? In a word, nope.
Randy’s a heel, which means that he has limited options on RAW. He can either get squashed by Hunter or wait until December and get squashed by Lashley. Plus, there’s his backstage rep. Real or fabricated, the perception in people’s minds is that Orton is a roided up punk and that limits his chances of carrying the show.
Randy will leave No Mercy champion, but it’s only to keep the belt warm.
2) Mister Kennedy
He was at one point the hottest rising star in wrestling, but a botched move to RAW due to injury and then a drug suspension has helped to cool this potential supernova.
Now, he’s back on RAW and jumped right to the main event where he jobbed. He missed out on his chance to be a part of the biggest angle of the year and saw his push go to a midget. He was also the other guy in the ring when Cena went down. Plus, he’s another heel, so the Orton excuse works for him.
Not only his he a heel, but he’s not even the top heel on the show. Umaga’s the monster, Orton’s the psycho and Kennedy’s also there. He should be in the match on Sunday, but he isn’t walking out of there with the gold. The one bright spot for Mister Kennedy is that maybe he’ll be inserted into a long feud with Jericho, which could lead to some great promos and matches.
3) Jeff Hardy
I have been bitching about the RAW roster for months, and my venom has always landed on Jeff Hardy. How the hell could the WWE let their roster get to the point when Jeff Hardy was the number 3 face on RAW (Behind Cena and Hunter)? Yeah, RAW also has Shawn Michaels and Lashley, but they’re both on the shelf. Still, when you put Hardy in as the #3 face, there’s always that risk that he’s going to wind up at #1.
And look what happened.
Jeff Hardy gets a great pop when he comes to the ring, but the only chance he had to be a main eventer was right around the time he was in the ring with Undertaker and a ladder. At that point the fans would have bought just about anything he was willing to sell.
Now? After not even being able to be a legit main eventer in TNA, Jeff is back in the comfortable role as IC champion and resident “guy who gets a popÃ¢â‚¬Â. Jeff Hardy won’t motivate a lot of people to buy tickets or PPVs. He might be A reason, but he’s not THE reason.
He would be a fun surprise champion for a very brief moment, but as far as being the guy to carry the brand, he’s got no chance in hell.
4) Triple H
Captain Inevitable can’t touch the gold for another week or so. He’s tied up with Umaga and then they can slide him into the title picture. Hunter’s the clear, odds on favorite to carry the brand, but for once this would have been a chance for him to be a top guy but not have to be THE top guy. Sort of the opposite of Jeff Hardy.
Once Hunter gets back on top, RAW’s going to be stale again. Triple H stale isn’t as good as John Cena stale because Hunter is fairly compelling away from being forced to carry the whole damn program. Now it looks like we’ll get Hunter/McMahon feuds to mingle with the title picture again, and we’re going to go through our umpteenth Evil Boss storyline.
Hunter can beat Randy for a few months and then move on to Kennedy. Plus, if Cena isn’t up to par for Mania, there’s always Hunter/Lashley. Wow. How bad does it have to get for the WWE that their potential main event at Mania is Hunter Lashley?
He got caught on the juice, he got murdered by Hunter and now he’s getting shipped to Smackdown to become Taker’s bitch. Yeah, sorry Umaga, don’t think it’s going to happen. Plus, he can’t talk. Makes it hard to do the opening interview if he can’t talk and no longer has a manager.
Those are the only legit options the WWE has for it’s title, and none of them at this point can do what Cena did. Orton, Kennedy and Umaga are heels, which means you need a strong babyface to chase (which they don’t have). Jeff isn’t capable to be main eventer. And that leaves Hunter. It’s almost like he planned this.
This has been for your consideration.