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Feedback Question of the Week: Why doesn't the Rock get credit for having better matches with Austin, Angle, Benoit, and Jericho than HHH? I mean, people complain about his lack of technical workrate and sing-a-long promos all the time, but this guy really delivers, especially on PPV? Thoughts anyone?

Whatcha Gonna Do?!?!

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this column this week. It was totally unexpected. I mean, this is the dawn of the "new era" in WWF programming. The brand has been extended. The roster has been split and here I was having the biggest bout of writer's block in the world. I literally couldn't come up with anything to write about. Maybe, I thought, I should return to my old 10 Things I Think I Think format that I used in the early days of ...AMO when there were two brands on television. At some past point I had said that I might return to that format once there were two distinct shows again. Maybe now was that time, I thought. Nah.

So back to the keyboard I went and I realized that it wasn't the format of the column that was giving me problems. It was the television programming. You see, I enjoyed this week's RAW and SmackDown! efforts. Sure there is room for improvement, but both shows were much more good than they were bad or ugly (forgive me, Michaelangelo).

And then I realized that the WWF writers and directors and weren't the only ones in the rut. I was in a rut as well. I had been watching the WWF for so long with such a negative attitude towards the product and their constant fumbles with hot angles that I had become so jaded that even the most fundamentally enjoyable thing (like a six-minute RVD-Booker match or an eight minute Jericho-Rock match) gave me a valid reason to complain and bitch. And that's a problem.

Television viewing isn't this one-sided affair in which the viewer brings a tabula-rasa to his or her couch and waits to be imprinted with enjoyable experiences from the digital and radio signals processing through the Magnavox. No, both the viewer and the television programmers have a joint responsibility to each other. The television programmers are charged with doing their bests to create and present enjoyable shows that the viewer connects with and subsequently returns to watch again. The viewer, on the other hand, has a responsibility to come to the programming with an open-enough mind that the programmers at least have a chance to connect with him or her.

If a viewer comes into the programming with a mind clouded and jaded to the point where he or she is focused only on the negatives of the product or if the viewer is holding on to past negative experiences and allowing those experiences to color the present landscape even in the face of potential positive improvement, the viewer is less likely to have an enjoyable television experience. Bottom line: You bring about 50% of your RAW or SmackDown! experience to the table when you turn on TNN or UPN. If you are focused on crap, you'll see mostly crap. If you are focused on signs of positive change, you'll probably see sings of positive change.

I've been there, trust me. Take the Undertaker, for example. I dedicated an entire column talking about everything that was wrong with our favorite undead guy. Now, I stand by my criticisms of him at that time, but you know what? His heel work over the past few months has been the most entertaining thing on WWF television. His work with Ric Flair leading up to WrestleMania X-8 was especially amazing. Now, had I not decided to re-think my opinion of UT once he turned heel, I would have probably continued to find all that was wrong with him. But I didn't and instead, I see all the great things he's dong now that maybe his face character couldn't pull.

It's all about your perspective. And there are some good things that look to spawn from this brand extension. Things like HHH the Heel, pt.3. Things like Cruiserweights actually getting prime time airtime instead of smoke blown up their asses in the Ross Report. Things like Kidman as cruiserweight champ. Things like McMahon and Flair on television once per week instead of twice. Less overexposure for everyone. Things like Edge getting another chance to make it to main event status with a rub off of Angle, Rock and Jericho. I don't know how you feel, but I'm liking this so far. And it's only been a week. We gave the WWF about 8 months to get into this mess; let's offer them the same time to dig out of it.

So, I guess my question is: Whatcha gonna do? Are you going to keep coming to your RAW and SmackDown! viewing experience with the same old shades on? Or are you going to be bold and try watching once, just once, with those shades off in your pocket somewhere? Try it, you just might like it.

I dare you.

Until next time, send hatemail and/or feedback to the addy in the link below.

I'm out.

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