Before we talk about what is new in wrestling, I will briefly talk about what is new in my world. Well, I can finally drink liquor, legally. I always looked forward to 21 since, well, forever, but Jesus, I never knew I’d feel so goddamn old. I mean, this is it, the last birthday to look forward to. It is downhill after this, so I might as well enjoy it by destroying my kidneys at the bars. I just finished another year of college. Yippie. That means only two more years to go until I spend countless amounts of time looking for a job that is not even out there. Thank you, George Bush and Obama, for making America a complete and utter mess.
I have watched wrestling off and on. I have not been really writing about it ever since the Cageside Seats debacle, though. I did, however, write a column at the historical Scott Keith’s Blog of Doom about what makes a wrestling match great. You can check that out here.
Payback 2013 Thoughts:
I did not catch Payback, although I was able to watch a few matches on Youtube.
Even though I have seen Ziggler and Del Rio have better matches on TV, it was still a very good. They told a good story and executed a double-turn successfully (which I will talk about more later). The booking thus far has been top-notch for this feud. Both men needed to take a shortcut to beat the other ( Ziggler cashed in on a vulnerable Del Rio, and Del Rio took advantage of a concussed Ziggler). Hopefully, WWE builds their rubber match around that story, because I have always found “something’s got to give” and “neither man should lose” matches engaging.
CM Punk and Jericho had a very good match, too, but it could have been better. They were both blowing spots and CM Punk was clearly blown up early on. Although some have suggested that he was faking it to sell that he was off due to taken time off. If that was indeed the case, there could have been better ways to do it than him selling poorly, hitting the ropes lazily and delivering a sloppy neckbreaker. Anyway, once they did a long Walls of Jericho spot that allowed Punk to catch his breath, there was some good mat-wrestling, wrestling exchanges, and smartly crafted spots, all topped by a highlight-reel finish.
The main event SUCKED. Chicago has one of the smartest wrestling crowds, so seeing WWE do this match was defiantly a surprise. Both wrestled received more jeers than cheers, as expected, but at least for their sake, the crowd didn’t shit all over the match.
It was a straightforward match, with the only surprise being Ryback pinning Cena clean in the first stage. But, of course, Cena overcame the odds by winning both the second and third stage. The ambulance stage was wrestle crap at its finest. It was as if they were trying to copy an action movie-fighting scene, but it wound up lacking suspense, the feeling of the protagonist to be in peril, and cool spots.
Rajah Is The CNN Of Pro Wrestling News:
Rajah continues to be the utmost untrustworthy wrestling dirt sheet online. They reported that according to Mike Johnson of Pwinsider, Vince McMahon was unhappy with Monday Night Raw’s script, so he decided to rewrite it with help from Paul Heyman, Wayne Keown, and Stephanie McMahon. This news was gigantic because tons of people have advocated for Heyman to write for WWE again, so it was posted all over other dirtsheet websites, only for Pwinsider to have to tell each one that they did not report that story. Then Rajah, knowing that they were caught red-handed for inaccurately reporting a news story, changes it and puts the following:
“Take the following two notes as backstage rumors:
— Monday’s Raw script was reportedly re-written mid-afternoon by Vince McMahon after he was not happy at the original booking. McMahon consulted Paul Heyman and Wayne Keown (Zeb Colter) in the re-write with minimal input from Stephanie McMahon.”
All I know is if I were Mike Johnson, I would be contacting my lawyer.
Monday Night Raw Dramatically Improves :
According to multiple sources, Vince McMahon has not been pleased with Monday Night Raw’s ratings and rightfully so. Monday Night Raw has battled against both the NBA and the NHL playoffs, and as a result people have seen their ratings decrease. When facing strong competition on TV, WWE loyalist will always use that big competition as an excuse to why the ratings were low. In truth, a TV show itself can only blame itself for poor ratings. The ratings simply show that something else on is taking WWE’s fans away from them. Besides, I’ve never heard the NBA or NHL or their fans ever say, “Well, the game was on Monday, and people just want to tune into Raw no matter what!”
Long story short, McMahon did the correct thing by blaming himself and the other WWE employees for the poor ratings. Only a small group of people knows whether that story had anything to do with Monday’s show. However, it was one of the best ones in years. For once, it seemed like things were actually happening. The show surprisingly developed intriguing stories and angles. It also progressed the angles from the past, and by the end, it gave the fans a reason to tune in next week.
The amount of viewers just went up slightly this week, but I have always believed that last week’s show is a reflection on the show this week. In other words, if people found Raw good last week or found Payback good, they are going to tune in to see what happens next. Consistency will be the key to WWE increasing their ratings.
Wheels Keep On Double Turning:
WWE successfully pulled off a double-turn the other night, turning Ziggler into a plucky, sympathetic babyface and Del Rio into a ruthless heel. It was one of those rare times where the company listened to what the fans wanted. After all, nobody was enjoying Del Rio’s babyface reign due to his character being lackluster, to say in the least. Meanwhile, almost half the audience cheered for Ziggler albeit being a heel. Quite frankly, it is too difficult to boo him. I mean, he has worked very hard for his spot, and it is clear that he loves the business. He puts the utmost amount of effort in everything he does, proof being the amount takes enormous bumps he take. He sells akin to Ricky Morton (which means he will be terrific in face-in-peril courses of a match), and he has a flashy, high-paced style (which means his comebacks after being beat down will be terrific as well). Seriously, there is not much to hate. He is tailor-made to be a protagonist.
Who Is The King Of Egos?
I will admit that I have been sick and tired of the McMahons feuding with each other for nearly a decade. I am also upset that they did not take my advice on what direction they should go with the HHH amnesia angle. I thought it was have been a terrific idea for Triple H to lose a lot of his memory, thus start to wear his old leather jacket and come out to “My Time”. He would also cut promos on Mick Foley, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Kurt Angle for trying to sleep with his wife. Vince McMahon would then come out to tell him that everything is already taken care of. Eventually, this would set up a feud with Vince McMahon and Triple H because he believes McMahon is trying to trick him.
However, I am intrigued to see where this is heading, merely because the story is developing. And that is what serial television is all about: storylines that have continuity, escalate frequently, and have a sound story structure. The truth is, the more serial-esque angles occur, the more likely a fan or many fans are going to become captivated by it and tune in to see what happens next. So, even though I have my doubts due to McMahon’s storylines as of late not have a good track record of succeeding, the story is building well enough for me to be interested.
That Is What He Does:
I am a little upset that the rumors of Daniel Bryan was receiving a shot at the title were false, but even I can admit this segment was pure gold albeit not getting what I wanted. Wrestlers are always stereotyped for being bad actors, but Henry proved that assumption is completely untrue. The dialog was amazing, if it was scripted out. But I do believe due to the genuine vibe, Henry was improvising a lot of it. There is also so much more to the brilliance of this than just the words he said: His realistic tears, the words not coming out smoothly due to him being choked up, his sadden facial expressions, and him pulling off the situation flawlessly (wherein he realizes he never became WWE champion, but needs to hang it up for his family). I was spoiled before I watched Raw, but Henry still suspended by disbelief because his believably was impeccable. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fantastic angles I have ever seen.
However, I just wish WWE advertised his retirement better and had certain wrestlers come out to pay homage to him…you know to make it feel even more realistic. I also wish it was any other babyface besides Cena involved in this segment. Henry received the wrong reaction because Cena is extremely hated. If CM Punk or Daniel Bryan were the WWE champion and fell victim to this assault, Henry would have gotten booed out of the building. A match’s build purpose is to persuade fans to want to see the match and give a reason behind why two wrestlers are conflicting with each other. If the match does not deliver up to the majorities expectations, then the angle didn’t do its job . And we know that Mark Henry and John Cena do not go together like lamb and tuna fish, so WWE’s road-agents need to be on their a-game to mask Cena and Henry’s sub-par chemistry together.
A F-5 Tornado That Damaged A Friendship:
This story just wrote itself, but I’m surprised WWE took advantage of it. The CM Punk of now believes he does not need Paul Heyman’s assistance anymore, which visually made Heyman upset. There are some people who believe that they pulled the trigger on Lesnar and Punk too sudden. It is certainty arguable, especially since Paul E and Punk’s problems just started to occur and the expected destination for the match is two months away. But there are ways they can extend this program to Summerslam while keeping the feud hot.
Besides, the ECW innovator himself has described Lesnar as an uncontrollable monster that does things without his approval. Punk also said The Beast needs Heyman as a client, which could have possibly rubbed Lesnar the wrong way. What will most likely happen is, Heyman will keep denying that he had anything to do with Lesnar attacking Punk until it all somehow gets reveled. Either way, under the right circumstances, Brock Lesnar and CM Punk could have one of the best WWE matches in the past decade.
It is as if WWE has finally woken up and realized that people have stopped watching due to the show being so formulaic. Therefore, they have added more depth to the roster (reducing the amount of over-done rematches each WWE show). The creative staff has shaken up the rosters’ gimmicks (reducing the chance of wrestlers’ personas becoming decayed), and they have also found interesting and different ways to start a feud instead of using the “How to start a wrestling feud” 101 book. What is more, they are starting to push the right wrestlers, aka the ones that fans actually care about. It might have been just one show, but it was refreshing to see WWE for once trying different things instead of being so conservative.
-I’m intrigued to see RVD back and what they will do with him. He could have some interesting feuds with others, and hell, even align himself in the Dangerous Alliance 2.0. I hope that he is motivated by being back, because he was going through the motions in TNA (not that I blame him).
-The return of Christian is also a big attribution to the roster, especially if he stays in the midcard. He is a good worker that has developed this type of match where nearly anyone can plug their offense into his formula and have a halfway decent match. He can also help elevate midcarders due to his ability to make others look better than they truly are.
-It also seems as if WWE is adamant on pushing Daniel Bryan to the main event, the place where he belongs. Bryan has always been known as a top-tier in-ring technician, but he has also proven that he has oodles of personality and charisma. Every one of his attributes has made him become the most over babyface in the company.
This might be the most interested I have been in WWE’s programming since perhaps the Summer of Punk. I just hope that this time they don’t screw it up.
ROH IPPV’s Continue To Be A Problem:
I like ROH for what it is meant to be. I really do. They have tons of wrestlers that go out there and give it everything they have to gratify the supporters. Unlike TNA or WWE, the company allows their wrestlers to display their talents to their maximum capability, and they infrequently hold anyone back. That said, ROH has encountered more stream problems with their Best in the World IPPV (Internet Pay Per View) last night. This has not been the first time this problem has happened. In fact, it has been an ongoing issue. Evidently, the IPPV’s feed will continue to have problems that will not repair itself over night.
Either ROH has to come up with a guaranteed solution to the problem that will convince their previous customers that it will never happen another time, or ROH might have to find an alternative way to display their IPPVs. I think a solution to the problem would be to tape the shows in advance and then show them the following day on a feed. After all, they are able to get rid of the lag and buffering issues on the replay. Or, push comes to shove, they will have to go back to their old method—putting the PPVs OnDemand. IPPVS are considerably cheaper than putting it OnDemand, though.
I will give them credit where it’s due: they do hand out refunds and replays to the people who purchased the PPV. But still, people expect to watch the it during the time that the show is advertised . I mean some people cannot watch it at a later time, because their schedule might be hectic. Further, ROH is losing money off them when they have to give out full reimbursements. They really must fix this problem before it becomes too late.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, chris jericho, christian, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, ECW, john cena, kane, Paul Heyman, randy orton, rey mysterio, Ric Flair, Ring of Honor, ryback, shawn michaels, sheamus, Shield, Smackdown, triple h, undertaker, WWE