Reality From Ringside #70
June 21, 2010
By: Doug Lackey of Wrestleview.comWWE Fatal 4-Way 2010: The Hangover
It may be strange to fathom for some, but the entertainment value of a professional wrestling event (live or otherwise) can increase or diminish greatly at any given moment. Some of these moments are unfortunate and inconsequential, for example a performer suffering from a spontaneous injury during a match or technical difficulties with satellite feeds due to inclement weather.
However, some of these moments can be controlled. If a performer was to begin bleeding profusely and producers do not wish to show such a gruesome sight, they can easily find other aspects to focus on; like a stunned audience or his/her competitor keeping the crowd enthused while the situation is taken care of.
Maintaining a high level of intrigue by avoiding the detrimental, visual or audible, is critical. I felt this was the case with WWE's new pay-per-view event "Fatal 4-Way". Taking place at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York, '4-Way's crowd grabbed a hold of your attention at least every other match on the card.
Looking at the front rows behind the ring from the center-ring camera angle, it was as if the entire cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore", their stunt doubles and triples were in attendance.
There were several occurrences of large groups of (vaguely) adult males jeering and drowning out the cheers of any performer that children might see as mildly entertaining (Evan Bourne, Rey Mysterio, the obvious John Cena).
I truly felt sorry for the families who had purchased tickets for this event well in advance, if there were any families in attendance.
Last Monday, I attended 'Monday Night Raw' live with a bunch of my friends in Charlotte, NC. Before entering the arena and while sitting in my seats, I would get to know the people surrounding me. Introducing myself to families and other groups of friends, finding out if this was their first wrestling show, and more important, finding out whom the kids were cheering for.
Sure, my friends and I would jump and cheer for who we thought were great (HAIL KOZLOV~!), but we would not be so overtly obnoxious as to try to drown out their exultations for Cena, R-Truth, or anyone else.
We would have fun with the crowd. Instead of looks of anger and disdain from parents (that I'm sure most of the patrons were getting), we got smiles and chuckles.
Watching '4-Way', it seemed that most of the audience in attendance was not there to enjoy themselves. They did not buy a ticket to be entertained; they bought a ticket to try to get attention... sad.
I know most of you are asking for me to talk about the matches themselves and what I thought about them, but when a crowd full of 20-something, indie-spotfest-worshipping, Cheetoh-munching, Dew-chugging, pink-skinned, Vitamin D-deficient virgins constantly distracts me from what is happening in the ring, it is kind of tough to come up with a clear cut opinion.
One piece of information I know that I can take from of this show: If WWE has any more scheduled live events televised from the Northeastern US (Pennsylvania and above), they must be prepared to eliminate the chants for the virgins' savior.
What the hell did Daniel Danielson have to do with The Miz's United States Title match against R-Truth? So The Miz was his mentor during his stint in WWE and on NXT, but The Miz didn't tell Daniel Danielson to go above and beyond the scope of what NXT's invasion segment was supposed to entail 3 weeks ago.
Alright, enough ranting like one of those virgins; stuff like that should be kept on the message boards and forums. Off to the biggest question that I'm sure is probing your psyche, much like how the banshee at TNA's Impact Zone gets probed every Thursday.
What matches could have been left off the PPV card and what should they have been replaced with?
The week leading up to the pay-per-view, we were teased with five matches on the card. All of these involved titles, three of them contested under 'Fatal 4-Way' stipulations. However, two matches would be added to the card the night of the program to establish some balance and lead-ins for the title matches: Chris Jericho-Evan Bourne and a 6-Person Tag Match involving The Hart Dynasty vs. The Usos and Tamina.
I would in no way say that this was very TNA-like. There's a difference between putting matches on the card the night of your program that are relevant to current storylines (WWE) and putting matches on the card the night of your program whose only relevance is a #1 contender's spot for a title involving performers you haven't seen for 2 weeks (TNA).
Did we need Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne? Absolutely.
Anything involving Jericho and a microphone should be highly endorsed. Some explanation for his 'mid-life crisis' facial expressions for the past few weeks would be nice to have, especially when it is followed by the most beautiful maneuver in all of WWE and is a surefire way to get a live positive crowd reaction.
Did we need the 6-Person Tag Match? Absolutely not.
For nearly a month, there has been absolutely no sizzle to this feud at all. Crowds have gone from standing up and cheering to slinking back into their chairs and daydreaming off into a land full of imagination and childlike wonder.
We know who the characters are (all 2nd generation performers except for the guy with the thing on this head)... we know the angle, possibly (Usos/Tamina want to destroy Samoan stereotype, Hart Dynasty wants to prove themselves)... but there is nothing between the two teams specifically to warrant a reason for watching them perform!
This match should have been relegated to a television taping, 'Raw' or 'Superstars' would have been fine.
So what do we put in its place? Before we decide that, let's look at a terrifyingly glaring statistic: The runtime for 'Fatal 4-Way' was only 2 hours and 30 minutes! A full half hour was left barren! We have more than just 10 minutes of nothing to fill!
I'm sure this was done for financial reasons. WWE pay-per-views have been shrinking in event length in the past months and that most certainly should be due to budget constraints. For the sake of argument though let's play armchair booker, assume our financial statements are stable, and tweak this card a little bit.
Alright... 40 minutes devoid of anything... hmmmmm.
What programs are in effect on Smackdown?
How about Christian and MVP teaming against Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer? Nah...
How about Vickie Guerrero casting her cougar spells on Dolph Ziggler? I would put this into a segment somewhere on this card. Instantaneous heat for Vickie is always a plus for any televised event.
How about Women's champion Layla and Michelle McCool randomly insulting the other Diva's? Would make for another decent segment, while the only reason I would want to see them is just for Kaval's expression of complete indifference and annoyance.
Speaking of Kaval, what if we involved some of the NXT performers on the pay-per-view?
How about a tag team match involving any Rookie/Pro tandem vs. Titus O'Neil and... ZACK RYDER! Are you kidding me? How could you be having a pay-per-view event in Long Island and NOT have Zack Ryder on your card! That would make for a good quick 5-8 minute match, but the crowd reactions would be fantastic filler for title matches to follow.
Would I put a comedy segment involving Santino or Kozlov? As it pains me to say it, I wouldn't. Those comedy segments belong on 'Raw' and 'Raw' only... especially when they involve a special guest.
On that note, it's not time to form the greatest tag team ever yet... there is still some animosity between William Regal and Kozlov that needs to be resolved and a feud like that is not worthy of 'Fatal 4-Way'. This has upper-tier 'Summerslam' card written all over it!
So what do you think should have been altered from last night's PPV card? Would you have given more time to the Fatal 4-Way matches? Would you have added different matches or segments? Tell me what you think!
I must warn you though, be realistic. Don't just add who you would have liked to have seen without regards to crowd reactions or current programs.
Fantasy booking like that is meant to be seen on video games whilst devouring fried processed cheese snacks and wondering if you will ever know the touch of a member of the opposite sex in your same age group.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts... adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: Reality from Ringside
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