THE WWE TURNAROUND
What they are doing right, and how they can keep it going.
The WWE is coming off an extraordinarily amazing Pay-per-view, and there is a ton to talk about. So lets get right into it-
I had the misfortune this week of walking in on the middle of Summerslam. My roommate was watching it, so of course I sat down right at the beginning of the Test/Undertaker match and watched it the rest of the way through. And, as so often happens when I see the end of a PPV before the beginning, my interest in the opening matches wane. Mercifully, this time, I heard how stellar a program it was, and I went through again to watch the rest of the matches. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
I went 4-3 on my predictions- not bad really. Actually, I sucked. But the Brock call was a reach and it is completely ridiculous that Jericho jobbed again, and again. Well, I hope I do better next month.
Of course I immediately rewound the tape and watched the Kurt Angle/Rey Mysterio match right after Brock/Rock, and let me tell you- that was an incredible match. Kurt Angle has a way of making his reversals look so good, and against a small guy like Rey Mysterio, that had to have been a difficult task. So often in the WWE lately they seem to try to force very elaborate reversals that have no real flow, and this "dramatic spot" more often than not fails in my opinion to come off as realistic. But for some reason Angle took Rey (who looked like a ferret crawling around Kurt’s body for most of the match) and made the most dramatic reversals flow and make sense. And Rey, to his credit, worked his ass off and came off as a very serious threat to Angle, and lent a lot of credibility to the Cruiserweights. As much as I like guys like the Hurricane, normally when Cruisers are paired up with much bigger guys, they are played off as glorified jobbers.
While the Angle/Mysterio match was my "match of the night" in terms of wrestling excitement, the HHH/HBK match definitely took that title in terms of match psychology. Both men really stepped it up and made the match spectacular. I knew at the beginning it would be, and I was incredibly impressed with Sean Michaels’ performance. Now I am not about to jump on the HHH bandwagon yet. One match, especially against a "Kliq buddy" does not signal a turnaround in my eyes. Of course they both stepped up their game for each other- they always have and always will. I have read a lot of criticism for the "sledgehammer" shots at the end of the match. I for one saw that coming and it made sense- HHH needed to keep his heat. What I did not like was the fact that there was virtually no mention of the aftermath of that on Raw. The angle was apparently dropped, in favor of that ridiculous number one contender match.
The Main Event was fantastic. I really thought that the Rock would take it, and it was a real surprise to me that Brock came away with the very clean win. Now despite the fact that I have always been a firm believer that the champion needs to hold the Intercontinental title prior to winning the big one, I definitely like the prospects of Brock as the champion.
The problem is that Raw seemed to contain no coherent follow-up. The WWE seemed like it had such a detailed plan for the coming months, and it still may, but I got the impression from Raw last night that they had no idea what they were going to do next. If Brock was to decide to be exclusively on Smackdown, why did he bother to show up on Raw at all? To me, it would have been a much more interesting storyline to have Bischoff wondering the entire show where the hell Brock was, and making that the point of mystery. This would give the announcement of his intentions at the end of the show a lot more build-up and credibility.
And that number one contenders match was pure nonsense. To start with, to even tease a feud with either one of these guys was a let down. I could understand both of their characters coming out to take a crack at it, but they both basically punked out Brock. It would have done a world of good for his character if he showed up on Raw, decimated their two "top contenders" at the beginning of the show, and then announced that he was not going to be on Raw anymore. It would make sense, since he would have proved his dominance over Raw’s too main title threats. Booker T, RVD, and the Big Show are really nowhere near at a point where they could conceivably go after the belt, and quite frankly- HHH or the Undertaker in the title picture is old news. Instead of a Brock massacre, we were treated to him being tossed around every time he got into the ring, until he succeeded with a cheap shot the second time he tried. Christian could have performed as well here. What point did having Brock be out there accomplish? Repayment of a vague debt to HHH? To me, that smacks of the writers reaching for every straw possible to keep HHH on top.
The point is that the entire "Main Event" storyline on Raw seemed to be tossed together, and if it is a precursor to the Brock-feuds to come, I have a very bad feeling about his reign.
On the whole, though, the show was decent. The Main Event program was kind of a letdown, but the show was solid otherwise. It was nice to see that the WWE managed to steal Superfly back, even though it was only for a lame 3-minute promo. When are the Island Boys going to wrestle? Am I the only one who thinks that Superfly would have been a good manager type for "3 Minutes?"
Solid show with a really hazy buildup for the main event picture. Even though I really think that could have been executed way better, I am going to give the WWE credit for the past few months booking, and wait and see.
Who did Chris Jericho piss off? From a poorly written title run, he has been handed job after job after job. His character has ZERO credibility as a title threat now, and I am forced to wonder if the writers have any plans at all for the Millennium Man. Jericho needs a solid CLEAN win over a real main event contender soon or he will fade away completely.
The Big Red Machine
Kane looked awesome. I know I am not alone in wanting to see him in the title picture with Brock. Aside from a Brock/Angle title match, This is my number one pick for a feud for Brock.
Kane’s ring attire did seem a little strange, but I liked the fact that they made the change. Kane’s old image was in dire need of re-working. I also like his new mask- his voice was always so muffled behind that old one, even when he was speaking clearly. The only think I did not like about his return was the "Kane-aroony." Why they made a mockery out of an otherwise strong return is beyond me.
I think the one thing that became perfectly clear to me is that people are very ready for a change in the Main Event scene. When I saw Kane come out, one of the very first things I thought of was "title shot." I know I am really sick of the same old Undertaker/HHH/Rock title shots. I really think that now that they have put the belt on someone completely new, he should finish his decimation of the remaining old-title contenders and the WWE should move on to long term feuds with the likes of Kurt Angle, Kane, Booker T, Jericho, and of course, Brock. They are ready, and the crowd is definitely ready to see that. Sure the Rock is not going to be around much, Stone Cold is gone (for a long time, I hope), and the Undertaker is getting older, but the WWE persists on hanging on to these guys as if the promotion cannot survive without them. Yes, loyalty is important, and I am not saying the remaining "Attitude" guys should be totally buried, but putting the strap on Brock and not letting guys like Kane also move up is a mistake. One guy cannot turn things around, and the WWE would be making a huge mistake by not using the obvious tools that are right at their fingertips. New feuds with new faces = exciting television.
Again, I am starting to feel like one of Miss Cleo’s cronies. I said right here that they needed to come out and burn the flag, and to be honest I could not have booked that any better. They did not succeed in actually burning it (and I can understand why they would not want to book THAT) but they sure as hell tried. When I saw the Kane promo, I thought that would be it, and they would give up. But NO! It took Booker T and Goldust running in to stop it, failing, and finally Kane coming out to make the save to stop Test. Test tried as hard as he could to actually burn it instead of hinting at it and giving up at the first sign of opposition. I have read everywhere that it smacked of cheap heat and "Oh, how could they do that? That was in such poor taste" and blah blah blah. It was a great move, it was well executed (aside from the Kane-aroony), and it was entertaining. I applaud the segment, really. The Un-Americans got a boost of heat that they needed, and Kane got a great introduction. My question is, however, what is left for the Un-Americans? I think the time has come to tone down the rhetoric, and settle into a more normal stable. There is only so much that the Canadians can say against America, and their comments really do nothing for them other than build character. Now they have done that. Their goal should be accomplishment WITHIN the WWE. If they do not start basing their feuds in acquiring gold or taking out opponents, instead of "America Sucks," They are going to fizzle out really fast. They have reached the peak of the heat they can get with the flag-burning bit, I think it is time for them to get serious. Maybe a run at the IC belt for Test should be in their future.
Completely awesome. There has been so much praise for her I will not say much more, other than I really thought several months ago that she was the one Tough Enough alumni that was going to be forgotten. But now she has proven to be the best to come out of that so far, and I really can’t see her going anywhere for a very long time. Hell, I would not mind seeing her hold the belt a few months down the road.
I am completely torn. I live in south Orange County, California, and we get Vengeance here on Sunday in LA, Raw in Anaheim on Monday, and Smackdown in San Diego on Tuesday. I would love to go to all of them but frankly I do not have the money or time to do them all. Given the fact that I will probably get to see the PPV for free (nice friends), I am left with picking between Raw and Smackdown. And for once, it makes a difference. Tickets go on sale this Saturday. So you tell me. Which would you rather see live? It will probably sway my decision, and if you email your preference to me at firstname.lastname@example.org , I will tally up the votes and write them here next week. Hell, post it on Weinerville. All of the on-paper analysis aside, which brand would you pay to see if you had to choose?
Nope. None here. Is it just me, or are you getting tired of so called "internet wrestling columnists" who spend a good half of their articles using their platforms to preach about their particular political stances, advancing their silly little feuds with other columnists, or outright bashing the readers who write to them (right or wrong) for things as trivial as grammatical errors! I swear, it seems like in the last few months it is near impossible to find a wrestling column anywhere that is not full of that garbage. It is a real turn-off to me, and I hope I am not alone. Please. If I ever stoop to devoting anything I write in a wrestling forum to any of that crap with no warning whatsoever, please, flame the hell out of me. I may not be a big-time columnist with a "regular gig," but I do READ the stuff. I find myself coming to slashwrestling more and more over the other sites out there, because to be quite honest, you see much more "pure wrestling" here than anywhere else I have seen on a free site. I want to thank CRZ for letting me post these here, and with any luck he will continue to do so. I think I am getting better at articulating my thoughts in these columns, and hopefully you are enjoying them. So for now, here’s to "wrestling" columns without any of the other crap!
That is all I have for you this week. I look forward to your thoughts on Raw vs. Smackdown. Until next week-
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