The Stomping Ground: The 50th Edition!

Can you believe it, ladies and gentlemen? This is the 50th edition of The Stomping Ground! It’s been nearly a year since I debuted as a guest on Glazer’s Morning Backlash and it feels like forever ago. The Stomping Ground debuted last February (there were a couple of weeks where I pulled double duty on the column, for those keeping track of the numbers) and it’s not going anywhere. Love me or hate me, you’re stuck with me!

So I guess the major consensus is that the 1/2/12 edition of Monday Night Raw sucked ass, eh? I would have to agree with the popular vote on this one, even though I’m usually the voice of reason here. One decent match (even with a foul finish) and the return of one of my all-time faves is not worthy of two hours of my night, unfortunately. I suppose I’ll just bring up a few points and see where we go from there. Feel free to chime in down below.

The Placement of the WWE Championship Match
I’ve heard an entire list of excuses for why this match was placed at the 10 pm slot:

“John Cena is still more marketable to fans.”
“The company always puts a big match at the top of the hour to keep viewers or to catch casual fans who channel surf.”
“CM Punk had a dark match at the end of the night so he needed time to rest.”

I will concede that the company often puts title matches midway through the show for a ratings spike, but this just simply was not the case. The one true reason why Punk and Ziggler did not close the show was due to Kane’s pyrotechnical antics involving his appearance from under the ring. The plan all along was to have Kane tear through the ring and that could not have happened earlier in the night because that would make further bouts in that ring impossible. Period. No dark match bullshit here, as those who perform in said dark matches often close out the very same show (and more often than not after a grueling match).

Chris Jericho was baiting us, pure and simple. It’s been covered before in other columns so there’s not much more I can say about that. I am totally looking forward to a CM Punk/Jericho feud. Imagine the promos they’d cut on one another! I’m drooling at the thought of it.

I know, I know; his “end of the world” promos made no sense and he ran around for over ten minutes doing nothing of note on an otherwise lame episode of Raw. Let’s wait to hear what he has to say next week before we make any rash decisions (damn deja vu; I could’ve sworn I’ve said that in the past!).

And then there were those of us who thought Brock Lesnar would make an appearance. Look, even if Dana White made some sort of deal with McMahon involving the use of Lesnar, the UFC would NOT benefit in any way. White is already pissed that Lesnar, arguably his top cash cow, retired so abruptly. To have him take a dive just to rejoin the WWE makes ZERO sense and lowers the credibility of all involved. There was more of a chance of Sting coming to the WWE last year than there is of Lesnar showing up in the immediate future.

Brodus Clay: Forget About Him

There’s obviously a problem internally within the company involving the debut of Brodus Clay. How else can you explain Santino getting a two minute squash match with Wade Barrett instead of Clay’s debut? For that matter, the Tag Team Champions have all but disappeared as well. The company needs to give up this Super Show idea, as the Smackdown segments rarely, if ever, further Smackdown storylines. Want people to watch Smackdown? Put up a promo for the show like they do with Raw on Friday nights. The company has quite a set of balls to proclaim the reason for Clay’s delay is due to lack of time; just cut out the Smackdown guest stars!

Daniel Bryan’s Character Development
What the hell was that three minute debacle at the start of the show? That roll-up made DB’s win look like a fluke. He’s being treated like Jack Swagger and Christian when they were champions, and I (for the life of me) have no idea why. I’ll never believe him as a successful heel until he starts acting like a bad ass in the ring. This cowardly route that Creative seems to be taking him in does nothing for me.

Control of the Company Angle = Anonymous Raw GM?
You might be asking yourself, “Mike, what’s the analogy in that subheading?” Well, I’ll tell you! Ever since Laurinaitis became Interim Raw GM, Triple H turned his focus to Kevin Nash. He was “injured” and returned six weeks later for revenge…only to disappear once again. What happened to finding out who is behind Laurinaitis? Are we supposed to pretend it’s all over, a la the Anonymous Raw GM’s disappearance? I’ll wait and see what happens at the Royal Rumble involving Punk’s title match.

Yeesh, that was a bit of a rant. I just expected so much more from both the title match (it was good until the screwy finish but I get why it was done) and Jericho’s return (a short and sweet promo would have been appreciated). I’ll try to remain objective in the future. Hopefully Smackdown will continue to produce the better show and my weekend will be that much better for it. Hell, most of the staff agrees that it’s better; check out the results of our year-end poll if you don’t believe me.

That’s all for now. Check back with me this Saturday for the Not-So-Live Smackdown Recap, and check out my archive if there’s been any editions of the Stomping Ground you may have missed.

Fifty. Wow.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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