Narrowing down what I want to write about this week has been a bit of a pain, mainly because I spent the entire week in scenic Salem, MA (not as a tourist, but visiting friends, thank goodness- I went to college there and the tourists in October always drove me nuts), which made it a little hard to sit down and focus. So I thought Iâ€™d pay a little tip of the hat to Paul Heyman and ECW, and make the topic of this weeks column a three way dance.
The first thing on my mind, obviously, is the resignation of Shane McMahon from the WWE. Weâ€™ve heard a lot about this over the past week, and the one thing everybody seems to know is that nobody really knows anything.Â Everything else has been rampant speculation: will he be joining up with Dana White or working in MMA, was it because Stephanie and HHH usurped his spot as the heir to throne, was it so he could help Mommy with her Senate campaignâ€¦ nobody seems to know, but everybody seems to have an opinion on it. Iâ€™m no different.
As an on air talent, Iâ€™m glad to see Shane go. Heâ€™s more than out lived his usefulness in that regard. However, it has always seemed like Shane was the McMahon most interested in professional wrestling, not sports entertainment. As Iâ€™ve mentioned many times, Iâ€™m a fan of the former, not the latter, so that is the only reason Iâ€™m sad to see him go (Shaneâ€™s work to build the brand overseas is nice and all, but right now isnâ€™t really something that has any effect on me at this time).Â Yeah, odds are he was never going to get the power to bring old style pro-wrestling back to prominence in the WWE, but knowing that bosses son maybe, just maybe was as frustrated as the rest of us was oddly comforting. And knowing that Shane has spent basically his whole working life with his father’s company, it’s intriguing to see where he goes from here.
(In the spirit of three way dances gone by, thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m going to say about Shane McMahon resigning. An early elimination, if you will.)
Then thereâ€™s the debut of the supposedly WWE bound Nigel McGuinness in TNA. At first glance, this seemed like an exciting story. A coup for TNA, stealing an almost guaranteed WWE guy out from under their noses. And then it turned out that it was the WWE who let Nigel go, due to not liking the results of his physical (apparently McGuinness has had to many injuries to safely work in the company whoâ€™s World Champion can barely walk. I know I shouldnâ€™t knock them for actually looking out for a guys health, but come on, this is the company that dragged Matt Hardy back from abdominal surgery and then tossed him off tv like a Kleenex once his brother left). Suddenly what seemed like the first actual coup for TNA since Kurt Angle became just another TNA signing. But from the sound of things, theyâ€™re going to make the most of it, and Iâ€™ll admit, by putting him against Angle right away theyâ€™ve got my attention.
Even in his deteriorated condition, Angle still is the guy that has a good to great match with anybody. The only problem is, thereâ€™s a tendency for the guys he face to then crawl back down the card after working with him. His matches against Samoa Joe were arguably the high point of exposure for the company, but instead of making Joe into a brand name star for TNA, he has been shuffled around and had his monster mystique pretty much destroyed. He went out of his way to make Black Machismo Jay Lethal look like more than a Randy Savage impersonating comedy act, only for Lethal to go into an underwhelming feud with Sonjay Dutt over So Cal Val (and having his impersonator act shared with Shark Boy, of all people). I donâ€™t think any of that hinges on Angle, itâ€™s just that this is TNA, current home of Vince Russo, and nonsensical heel turns and an over reliance on ex-WWE stars. It seems like an Angle/McGuiness match is being hot shotted just to get a quick ratings bump from McGuinessâ€™s fans before putting Angle back into the title picture against AJ Styles . So then what happens to Nigel McGuinessâ€¦ excuse me, Desmond Wolf.Â His name in TNA is Desmond Wolf. Wait, what? You sign a top indie star with name recognition, put him immediately in a feud with any workrate fanâ€™s favorite guy to draw those fans, and give him a 1980â€™s jobber name?Â TNA, youâ€˜re not the WWE, you are nowhere near the point when you should be trying to get your entire roster under trademark. Still, Iâ€™ll admit it. I want to see that match. Bad.
Finally, this Sunday, the WWE will be presenting Bragging Rights. A Smackdown team and a Raw team will go up against each other to determine brand supremacy, or some such nonsense. And it is nonsense, mainly because the teams donâ€™t represent the best and brightest of the brands by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, your Raw team has Degeneration X and the revitalized Big Show, and the Smackdown team has Jericho andâ€¦ Kane? That really is the closest thing the Smackdown team has to another main event talent in the line up, while the rest of the team is the directionless Crime Time, the not quite there yet Dolph Ziggler (who really is in danger of looking like a choker at this point), and two talents that the audience has barely had any exposure to (Erik Escobar has been around what, under a month? With one televised match? And most of what Drew McIntyre has done is beat down R-Truth).
The rest of the Raw team isnâ€™t much better, as itâ€™s made up of 4 midcarders that the crowd has no reason to believe are anything but cannon fodder (Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, the suddenly non-Jamaican Kofi Kingston) and then Cody Rhodes, who from a storyline standpoint shouldnâ€™t have even been given a shot at getting on a DX captained team.Â I can only assume that Cena/Orton will be headlining the show, and thank goodness for that, because this match, the match that gives the PPV itâ€™s name, is about as appealing as plain white toast. It sounds like a bad Survivor Series match, and unlike what Shane McMahon will do next, or Angle/McGuiness (or Wolf, if you insist), itâ€™s something I donâ€™t want to see all that bad.
See you all next week.
Tags: Bragging Rights, Kurt Angle, Nigel McGuinness, Shane McMahon, TNA, WWE