Extreme Rules has been and gone and while the WWE hesitated to pull the Lesnar trigger it was still a good PPV overall, although it is a shame that the status quo is still basically in place and Lesnar is now gone at least for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile in TNA the Open Fight Night flop continues on as too much air time was taken up this week by their decision on that guy who’s name I can’t remember and Devon had to defend his TV title again in what I predict will be an incredibly short lived gimmick if they want any champion to be a long running one. I’m not really sure which company is the better or worse right now but either way let’s just get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: Brock Lesnar (10/10)
The pain was clearly dished out this week against the two biggest alpha males in the company; Triple H and John Cena. Brock Lesnar is being painted out as the ‘Other’, coming from the outside and disrupting the status quo, which is exactly what he is in real life so this whole situation is a nice example of how wrestling storylines can draw on real situations and make something out of them. I’m really torn on the issue of Cena winning at Extreme Rules since on the one hand Lesnar coming in and beating the top guy straight away makes the WWE look like a joke, but having Lesnar lose weakens his position as a legitimate threat coming into the company. I think in the end the WWE did the best thing as Lesnar did own Cena for the majority of the match and he went out swinging by taking out the COO of the company. So while he wasn’t all dominant, he certainly looks like a force to be reckoned with and that’s something that can be built on as the year progresses.
2nd Place: Daniel Bryan (9/10)
Despite not having much luck against Sheamus this week, Daniel Bryan did manage to come out on top of the Beat the Clock challenge and is now facing C.M. Punk at Over the Limit. The question I have is whether or not the WWE had this planned all along, since the Punk-Bryan matches were clearly being tried out before, but Bryan’s recent boost in popularity makes me think that they gave him this title match based off of that, after all it’s not very often that a guy goes from one title scene to the other in the space of a night. Either way Bryan is still in the title picture and hasn’t been dropped like a weight like it seemed like he would be after his 18 second loss at Wrestlemania.
3rd Place: Chris Jericho (8/10)
Jericho came close this week, both to winning the WWE title and getting another shot at the belt after losing his last two opportunities in a row, but Y2J just couldn’t quite make it. This has a lot of people wondering why he even returned and saying that his latest return has been a flop, however I would disagree. Since coming back Jericho has gotten everyone talking with his trolling of the audience and then put on some really good matches, with his match at Extreme Rules against Punk being a truly amazing contest with some great memorable moments, what more do you want from a guy who has already proven himself as a multiple time champion? I’m quite happy with Jericho’s efforts, I will admit that there would have been little difference had Punk lost at Mania and then regained the title at Extreme Rules, but then if there is little difference then why have Jericho win the title just for the sake of it? It doesn’t help his career any and Punk is doing fine as champion without having to be chasing the title as he went into the event. Overall I think that people have been overreacting to Jericho’s lack of wins since coming back, if anything I’m more annoyed that he keeps on seeming to beat Kofi Kingston when Jericho would be a great means to get Kingston, who has been deserving of a push for years, finally over to the point of putting him into the main event level.
4th Place: John Laurinaitis (7/10)
Big Johnny comes up next, jumping the gun and making his true feelings towards Cena known in what was a surprisingly brutal attack by the GM of both Raw and Smackdown, backed up by Lord Tensi. After all that has happened to him as of late it would be a real slap in the face to Cena if he were to be taken out at Over the Limit by Johnny Ace, but with his arm in a sling and his cryptic message about going away for a little while it might just happen, we will just have to wait and see.
5th Place: Cody Rhodes (6/10)
There aren’t many guys in the WWE luckier than Cody Rhodes right now. He faced off against the Big Show in a feud and managed to come out mostly on top, what with the IC title being back around his waist. I’m glad Cody got the belt back because really the Big Show had no need for it and probably wouldn’t have done much with it apart from make it look like a really under-sized prop. Having said that Rhodes hasn’t exactly been defending the belt at every turn. The WWE seem to want to keep Cody in place before room clears for him in the main event scene, surely the best way to do that is to have him defend his title constantly and make his character all about the title before his inevitable loss and subsequent rise to the main event level. That’s what I want to see anyway.
6th Place: The Miz (5/10)
Not exactly the best week for the Miz but he certainly did get his profile raised a little bit what with him competing for the US title out of nowhere, even if it was on a pre-show. And then he also managed to beat his opponent the next night on Raw, securing his place in the Beat the Clock challenge, at least for the first half of the night. The Miz might be being held back for all we know but one thing is certain; that the Miz is ready and will be waiting for the time when the WWE remembers that the Miz actually does deserve a main event slot at this point.
7th Place: Kane (4/10)
If we are talking about lacklustre returns I would cite the Big Red Machine as being a pretty big flop since all he has done since coming back is have near-pointless feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton and basically just squashed everyone else. He did get a win at Wrestlemania but it still didn’t seem to mean anything since that feud was thrown together at the last minute. Kane will always be a minorly bankable presence, but I think his time has past now and his last title run was probably the peak of his career, so I think from now on he should be used to sell the new monsters, like Sheamus and Brodus Clay, I wouldn’t mind seeing either of those feuds going forward, if they are done right of course.
8th Place: Dolph Ziggler (3/10)
The show off is in a bit of a funk right now, not getting all that far against Brodus Clay in the past few weeks. Of all the people to pick to feed to Brodus Clay, the WWE chose Ziggler and Swagger, two guys who are technically former World champions, which just shows you how little that means right now. Former World champions, no matter what the circumstances, should never be demoted to jobbers; otherwise what is the point in striving for that goal? Jesus!
9th Place: Damien Sandow (2/10)
In his Smackdown debut, Damien Sandow set the standard for an antagonistic heel by not only refusing to wrestle someone who was beneath him, but also by coming up with a fitting counter to the insipid ‘What?!’ chant that has plagued superstars for years when they are trying to make an impression. Of course I would like to see exactly what this guy can do in the ring, but that can wait, better that he makes a lasting impression this week and comes back to back up his words another time.
10th Place: Lord Tensi (1/10)
Backing up Johnny Ace isn’t exactly the most desirable role for Lord Tensi to play right now but at least he isn’t just taking out jobbers week after week. Just think of Brodus Clay and how long he has spent just squashing jobbers, imagine what he could have done with that time if he had been involved in an actual storyline. I have trouble with the WWE right now, more so than TNA, when it comes to booking meaningless matches. I’ve always said that you don’t need elaborate storylines to make a good feud, and that is still true, but you do need to make your matches mean something, there has to be a knock on effect, it has to mean something. The WWE right now for the most part just seems to have matches for the sake of it, as if they just want to be a soap opera but they have this stigma of being a wrestling company so they have to give a nod to that in some way. All I’m asking for is some consistency in match booking so that when two guys go against each other the outcome and the matches themselves actually mean something.
2012-2013 Season Top Ten: Overall Top Ten:
1st Place: Daniel Bryan (43/50) – 1st Place: The Miz (790/1570)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (34/50) – 2nd Place: Chris Jericho (684/1570)
3rd Place: Brock Lesnar (29/50) – 3rd Place: C.M. Punk (666/1570)
4th Place: Robert Roode (19/50) – 4th Place: Cody Rhodes (534/1570)
5th Place: Alberto Del Rio (18/50) – 5th Place: Dolph Ziggler (443/1570)
6th Place: Lord Tensi (18/50) – 6th Place: Jack Swagger (421/1570)
7th Place: Kane (18/50) – 7th Place: Alberto Del Rio (413/1570)
9th Place: John Laurinaitis (15/50) – 9th Place: Sheamus (294/1570)
10th Place: Cody Rhodes (11/50) – 10th Place: Mark Henry (254/1570)
(Heel Hall of Fame)
**Heel Report 2010-2011 Winner: The Miz**
**Heel Report 2011-2012 Winner: Cody Rhodes**
The Face-Off: RVD
Wow, just wow. If anyone saw Impact and didn’t know that RVD is supposed to be a good guy then how could you not presume he is a heel the way he came out and talked about himself for about five minutes. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance that faces and heels walk, and RVD clearly has no respect for this line as he stumbled all across both sides and was only saved when Robert Roode came out to interrupt him. Add to that how he won his match against Jeff Hardy and it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to think that TNA saw RVD as a heel, especially since he barely did anything to get his title shot from out of nowhere. Unfortunately I believe that this isn’t the case, it is instead simply that RVD is a cocky prick who uses the little bit of sway that he has to get into the title picture and thinks he is selling himself when he really just sounds like a douche, that coupled with sloppy booking makes the current picture that we have. I just hope to god that Roode continues his winning ways and that he can actually win strong this time, rather than through some fluke.
Face the Facts: Extreme Rules
I personally thought that for a gimmicky, post-Wrestlemania PPV, that this was pretty damn good. There were a few filler matches, but they were short and somewhat entertaining, and the main matches were all pretty much the right length and had some memorable moments. I would almost say that Extreme Rules was better than Wrestlemania, after all the first hour of that show was dire and only saved by the Hell in a Cell and Cena vs. Rock since Jericho and Punk was good, but nowhere near as good as their match at this PPV, and the other matches were mostly a joke. All four big matches were perhaps MotY contenders, even Orton vs. Kane was entertaining and used its stipulation well. The two-out-of-three falls match was very well done and showed a lot of psychology, and Punk vs. Jericho was an old school street fight with a couple of big spots that made things really exciting. And of course there was the Lesnar-Cena match, which despite the ‘crowd-pleasing’ ending was pretty much a brutal breath of fresh air that didn’t rely on chair shots and barbed wire but was still just as visceral and tapped into that primal sense of a man getting destroyed, and it also set Cena up as a guy to root for because he was just so beaten down, although everyone always loves an underdog only until he is no longer an underdog so Cena actually winning kind of broke the spell that was being woven, even over the Chicago crowd. But nevertheless this was a very worthwhile PPV and one that you should watch if you get the chance.
On the Rise: Punk vs. Bryan
This one was quite a surprise, the WWE have decided that two indy geeks will be allowed to go one-on-one for the richest prize in the business on a PPV, and it doesn’t look like there will be any run-ins or shenanigans, which would be amazing. I think this is a product of the WWE downplaying the status of the WWE title in terms of giving the main event spot to Cena at all times despite him not having the title, and honestly if that is what it takes to let other, more talented guys, get a shot at wrestling for the belt then I am happy for that to have happened, at least for now. Hopefully in the end Cena will take some time off and then these guys will get to be the main event again since in the end while being the last match on the card doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best, it does say that you are what the majority of people came to see and you are the guys who the company really want to showcase, and if that could ever be Punk and Bryan we could finally get past this idea that wrestling is all about muscle-bound supermen and that it is now about having the desire, knowledge and skill to succeed in spite of your size or lack of politics, maybe the WWE is finally coming round to a modern way of thinking about things after all.
Flat-Footed: Beat the Clock
While the eventual outcome of Raw’s Beat the Clock challenge was indeed awesome, the challenge itself left much to be desired. First you had the whole mess up with the Jericho count out situation, but that didn’t really effect the overall outcome so that wasn’t so bad. But what really stuck with me was how despite a whole locker room to choose from they let Jerry Lawler go out there against Daniel Bryan, as if Bryan couldn’t take out anyone else as fast as he did Lawler. Not only that but think of the guys that weren’t featured in the matches; Ziggler, Rhodes and Henry, three guys who would have really fit in, especially in the places of Lawler, Khali and Santino. Sometimes you have to wonder why the WWE decides to let these guys take the places of stars who can do so much more with the opportunity as all three men are beyond winning the title in my opinion, whereas the three not featured could all be legitimate threats to Punk’s title and have legitimate reasons to want to go up against Punk, but whatever WWE.
That’s all for this week, going forward there will be the next TNA PPV and that will probably get them back on the chart, for now it was a complete sweep by the WWE guys and the top three of Jericho, Bryan and Lesnar pull away from Bobby Roode who is just clinging to fourth place. I was afraid this might happen but hopefully it is just a fluky couple of weeks and the TNA heels will get back into things soon. Of course it is still early days and people can always surprise you, so stay tuned, come back next week and for now this is James Wright signing off.
Category: Columns and Editorials |