Hello all, and welcome to My Pinterest Is Piledrivers. I am James A. Sawyer, and I am @todaysjmsawyer, too. You should follow me, after all, Andrew W.K. does.
One of my last columns was about how shit was gettin’ old in the WWE, and how I was on the verge of taking a break. While my enthusiasm did dampen, and I clearly stopped doing columns on the regular, I still kept an eye on things. After all, Punk leaving forced them to actually pull the trigger on some stuff. Daniel Bryan’s admitted that he didn’t think he’d be champion if Punk hadn’t quit. For lack of a lot of main event guys, The Shield has been pushed. And someone must have noticed the reactions Cesaro was getting, because he’s now a singles wrestler and a Paul Heyman guy to boot.
But something happened on RAW fairly recently that just crushed my enthusiasm like the head of a Game of Thrones character. A Money In The Bank qualifier match was had, wherein Ziggler, just as in what set me off in February, was made to tap faster than Savion Glover. (Don’t say I can’t do highbrow references.) And that, for me, sort of killed my buzz for summer, possibly longer.
There could be very convincing arguments made that the WWE is as good or better as it’s been in years. Bryan is champ! Shield are here! Cesaro is being pushed! Usos have gold! Look at banner, Michael!
This thing, for me, is my own personal exhaustion with it.
I’m not a complete grump. I’ll start with the good they’ve been doing.
Edit: After I wrote this (of course) and was offline for the weekend they do a Red Wedding of some of the talent mentioned in this article, notably Drew McIntyre and Evan Bourne. Guess that answers those questions. They obviously had to make room to give Mark Henry a raise and sign more dynamic talent like Curtis Axel or The Great Khali. See you in ROH, guys!
-I like what Alicia Fox has been doing. It’s sort of the divas equivalent of WCW heel Chris Jericho, which was a good Chris Jericho.
-Daniel Bryan is champ! Two years of constant chants and fan support finally broke through!
-Between the Usos, Wyatts, 3MB, Los Stereotypes, Rybaxel and Golddust featuring whoever ends up teaming with him, there’s kind of a tag division again!
-NXT seems to be doing really well. They’ve got Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville as future wrestlers and Sara Del Rey now training the future Divas. Recent graduates include the Shield guys, and the promising Adam Rose.
-They’ve been developing neat characters. Bad News Barrett seems to be massively over after years of aborted attempts. Bo Dallas is one of the most original characters, with some of the most original promos I’ve seen. I actually like the old-school nature of Rusev, with his Powerpoint Titantron and his manager old-school trolling the live audience with recent news articles. Adam Rose seems neat.
-Paul Heyman and Cesaro! Chocolate and Peanut Butter!
Con (not Kon)
-Daniel Bryan. Now, it’s not his fault he got hurt and had to drop the title. But even before that… his first big feud is with Kane? A 47-year-old wrestler who’s been with the company for 18 years? And the angle they’re going with it is that Kane once again is trying to sexually assault the girlfriend of a wrestler? The same storyarc that completely buried every bit of momentum Zack Ryder had?
Even if, for whatever reason, they had to put Kane as his opponent… they couldn’t draw on the fact that they were tag-team champions, extremely popular ones? But why not put Bryan against someone who can really go in the ring? Del Rio, Ziggler, hell Seth Rollins? And what is Bryan’s character now? Just a guy who’s against the Authority who likes to say “yes?” Isn’t this a retread of Punk versus Johnny Ace, which itself was a recent retread of Austin versus McMahon? Can’t we come up with something better for him to do?
-Good gimmicks, mediocre at best wrestlers. I like the old-school flair of Rusev the angry Russian, and Vince was really lucky Putin apparently missed being the bad guy in James Bond movies, but as a performer? I haven’t been wowed. Not sure what he has that Kozlov didn’t. Bo Dallas is only 24, and nothing he’s shown so far indicates that he’s a wrestling prodigy that deserved to be called up to the big time so soon. Adam Rose is a cool character, but I hope they let him break out and show that maybe he’s got some skills, and is not just another comedy act like Santino, Fandango, Damian Sandow, Brodus Clay, Sweet T, etc etc.
-The feud against talented wrestlers. I’ll start with my mancrush, Ziggler. I have no idea what it is about the fact that he gets chanted for in Rumbles and Battle Royals, and there are audible boos when he is inevitably eliminated, and the huge pop at his cash-in last year, and other aspects of his popularity that make him a target for being buried. The guy has wanted to be a pro wrestler since five, and became a college champ at Kent State solely to look better for a professional career, and he is still off many PPVs and without feuds or mic time.
I honestly can’t remember the last time Kofi Kingston won a match.
I honestly can’t remember the last time Evan Bourne wrestled a match. I think it had to have been in 2011.
Who knows when the last time Del Rio had mic time and a feud? Back before Wrestlemania, where he was just used as a way to get Batista over? Despite Del Rio being better in every single way, younger, as well as being a former world and WWE champion?
One can debate the relative worth of Zack Ryder, but man they crushed his dreams like a bug. He went from having a YouTube show that got six figure viewings (at least) and having merchandise out the ass, to barely clinging onto the roster, and being lucky to even get on Main Event, or whatever third-tier program they have.
I’ve not seen enough of Drew McIntyre to determine whether his plunge down the card is appropriate, but he went from “The Chosen One” and Intercontinental championships to being in 3MB and losing to El Torito.
Why does it seem like the WWE is a company where being a mean, petty bully gets you places? That’s not being a star at all.
-Same Old Shit. John Cena and Randy Orton had a feud near the end of last year and beginning of this one, after already having countless feuds before. John Cena is in the middle of a feud with the Wyatts that’s been going on since shortly after the Royal Rumble. It is now mid-June. The main focus for face champions seem to be “management doesn’t like them,” a storyline that’s more than run the course. Big Show, Mark Henry and Kane are all still active on the roster, despite being there longer than a lot of the fans have been alive. Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville are twiddling their thumbs, Colt Cabana and Chris Hero were sent home, but those three are still plodding around in slow “contests.”
-Big E is incredibly funny and charming, as seen on his Twitter and Instagram but certainly not in the ring, where he is now generic guy that loves America. Why is he not in a massively popular tag team with Ziggler, where their gimmick is the audience already is crazy about them, and their mic work and skits making fun of other wrestlers gets them even more over? Because that’d make sense? Because it’s hard to be a black dude in the WWE and not team with another black dude? “We can’t have a black guy and a white guy as a tag team! What is this, The Defiant Ones?!”- WWE Creative
-I know this isn’t their doing, but three hours is way too long for wrestling. Three hours used to be the time they gave their PPVs, which used to be roughly every other month, then every month, then 15 times a year and every Monday night. I wouldn’t watch a three hour episode of “Seinfeld” every week, and I fucking love “Seinfeld.” And you would think, if anything, that they would try to make that three hours interesting. Instead it’s the same promos by the same people, and three minute squash matches. Hell, do another wrestler themed talk show with someone you’re not using, like Ryder or Sandow, someone with personality. Air pre-recorded skits that Big E or Ziggler do, just to break things up. I know you can’t do 25-minute PPV quality matches all the time, but what about ten minute decent ones? And maybe dusting off some guys not doing anything-your Yoshi Tatsus or Curt Hawkinses? And I know that Smackdown is supposed to be the better show, but that’s taped and airs on Friday night-two strikes down already.
-I’m sorry this 3MB and Los Stereotypes thing is one of the stupidest things they’ve done. I actually think 3MB could be a funny comedy heel group given something decent to work with-apparently they aired an actually humorous interview when they first started before being the guys that got crushed by everyone up to the Brooklyn Brawler and Gilberg. But this ain’t it. I would rather a girlfriend catch me watching furry porn than anything with these two teams on screen.
Yeah, that’s it for me. I’ve had all I can stands and I can’t stands no more. I understand that Seth Rollins betrayed the Shield for Evolution. Good, I’m sure that’s a storyline with a sensible, creative payoff planned. But I turned it off at Ziggler’s tapping and I won’t turn it back on for a long, long time. This is me walking out, although I’m leaving a reason so people don’t stand outside my house or Swayze doesn’t shoot me in the driveway. I’m taking a total break. No shows, even in the background, no tweets, nothing that would in any way support the brand. I can’t even, as the kids say.
Before I go, here’s some plugs.
David Spain (@MisterShedz) is the best writeup guy this site has seen in a long, long time. I don’t watch Smackdown and I read his column. Hell, I’d read him recap C-SPAN (at this point, I’d rather read a C-SPAN recap-less boring, more sensible). This guy is like the new Andrew Wheeler, before he went Punk on us and left with no explanation, ironically before the Summer of Punk which he probably would’ve enjoyed. If it were up to me, and I knew this wouldn’t drive him insane, I’d have him do next day recaps of RAW, too. And follow him on Twitter.
Tweet BD (@BD_CRA) and bug him to do PPV reviews or bi-monthly columns or something. Try to catch him when he’s not flying somewhere like a G8 meeting or to his summer home or wherever.
And get on Twitter. Don’t act like you’re too cool, you’re not.
Lastly and most selfishly, consider donating to my GoFundMe. Yes, that is my handsome bald head in the picture. http://www.gofundme.com/66dpok. Even if you can’t donate, at least spread that link around like butter on an English muffin. It’s what CM Punk would’ve wanted, I’m sure of it.
That’s it. HAGS (Have A Good Summer)
Tags: 3MB, Adam Rose, adrian neville, alberto del rio, alicia fox, Bad News Barrett, batista, BD, Big E, big show, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Chris Hero, chris jericho, cm punk, colt cabana, Damian Sandow, Daniel Bryan, David Spain, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, evan bourne, Evolution, Fandango, john cena, kane, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, NXT, Paul Heyman, randy orton, rusev, sami zayn, Santino Marella, Sara Del Rey, seth rollins, Smackdown, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, usos, Vladimir Koslov, WWE, zack ryder