Much like the sun rises to begin a new day or like that time of year when the weevils come to devour your crops, it’s time for another dose of The Shoot. As always as of two columns ago? with the Shoot comes Quick Shots so let’s get to them!
Dave Lagana was backstage at the latest Ring of Honor show this past weekend. Many are speculating as to what he’s doing there. All I can say is that if they brought him aboard because the fans kept saying that the atmosphere and passion surrounding the company was comparative to ECW, someone better let Cary know that we didn?t mean THAT ECW.
Don West turned heel at the last set of TNA iMPACT! Tapings in Orlando, Florida. This might actually make me tune into TNA just once to see this new heel character because I can?t believe that Don West has a personality outside of ?You?ve Got to be Kidding Me?, ?Aw Abyss is SO Strong?, and ?$9.95! I can?t believe it!?.
Over the weekend, KENTA captured the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship off of Katsuhiko Nakajima and Jun Akyama captured the GHC World Heavyweight Championship off of Kensuke Sasaki. This leaves the entire Kensuke Office without any championships. While Sasaki was due to d rop the title, I could argue that it wasn?t time for Nakajima yet. He had just won the championship and this could have been his time to shine as an up and comer, but NOAH decided to put it on the former GHC Jr. Champion, KENTA instead. I demand a rematch!
One extra quick shot as I saw this story break as I was typing the column, but I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to Paul Heyman and his family during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers will be with you, Paul E.
Now for your main portion.
As we all know, Wrestlemania 25 is coming up rather quickly and as customary in the world of the WWE, after the dust settles f rom the biggest show of the year, the WWE usually shakes things up with the Draft. It’s that magical time of year where they shift talent around f rom one show to another in order to make things a little more interesting for the viewers, but while the brand split has been interesting and has generated new match-ups and rivalries, I?m starting to think that it has run its course and has become pretty stale.
As of right now, the WWE has three brands under their corporate umbrella: Raw, Smackdown!, and ECW. With each brand, they have one world championship. My question is how can one company have three world champions and still make it believable? While having three world champions gives more wrestlers an opportunity to shine it can also damage the credibility of the championships themselves and in my mind, the WWE has killed any interest for me in their world championship belts. Back when I started watching wrestling, WWE only had one champion for their whole company and it was the way it should be as in one man carrying the company on his back wearing the ten pounds of gold. Now it seems that the WWE has the job split between three people, two of which are made to seem like they actually matter.
Continuing with the championship issue, there are just way too many titles when many of them mean the exact same thing. The United States and Intercontinental Championships, and the Women’s and Diva Championships are prime examples of this. I can understand the need to make each brand look like its own company, but I think if they were going to do this that they should go back to making the shows unique like having a Cruiserweight Championship on Smackdown! And the Tag Team Titles on Raw so when you tuned into the other show you always got something different. Now the line has been blurred because the shows just have mirrored belts.
Another argument could be made that the brand split grants more wrestlers more opportunities to showcase their talent on a weekly basis in front of a live audience or in front of a television camera. While I don?t dispute this argument too much, the only qualm that when it comes time for a major Pay-Per-View like Summerslam, Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, etc, the wrestlers are jumping f rom one show to another and brand separation doesn?t even seem like it exists and because of that, the younger talent that are on these brands that are supposed to be having air time to get attention are bumped off anyway so that the bigger names can carry on their cross-promotion feuds.
Ending the brand split would bring all the wrestlers back under one umbrella once again. You can then divide your roster into the four categories that it should be: Main Eventers, Upper Card, Mid-Card, and Curtain Jerkers. You can re-tier your championships once again and if I were to choose them, I would say keep the WWE Title, Intercontinental Title, Tag Team titles, Diva’s Title, and the ECW Title. Now, why would I keep a second world championship? Well, at this point, the ECW Title is called just that: The ECW Title. We all know it USED to be a world championship back when Paul Heyman ran the company and back when WWE just purchased ECW f rom bankruptcy, but now, the ?World? part has been d ropped. At this point, I would re-establish the title as the Extreme Rules title (similar to the Hardcore Title) and continue on in that sense.
That gives us five championships to work with. I didn?t include a Cruiserweight/Light-Heavyweight title because we all know that the WWE style doesn?t support true cruiserweight wrestling (as well as the fact that the WWE already eliminated the division.). I also chose the Diva’s title over the Women’s championship because, naturally, all female performers in the WWE are referred to as Divas and even though the Women’s title has more history, the name of the belt actually fits the WWE moniker a lot better. The Intercontinental title is a no brainer. It has more history and more meaning than the United States Championship. The WWE Title was chosen because, simply, it’s the WWE. It’s the belt they?ve used all along, and I don?t believe they should abandon It for the World Heavyweight Title. While the world title has much more history to it, again, this is the WWE? not WCW or the NWA. The WWE title needs to be at the top of the pecking order.
So now the inevitable argument comes into light about too many wrestlers under one umbrella. Well, this is where talent cuts are going to be made. This is a rough economy so I know that talking about letting talent go could seem a little harsh, but the WWE is also a business and sometimes it needs to make cuts to survive as it did so recently with the ?Titan Towers Massacre.? First to go: Mark Henry. I?m sorry, but this guy keeps getting released and re-hired as much as Goldust, but the only difference is that they push Mark Henry into our faces each and every week and I couldn?t care less for the guy. He needs to go.
Next up: Great Khali, Mike Knox, Crime Time, Dolph Ziggler, Charlie Haas, Goldust, Sim Snuka, Jesse and Festus, Ezekiel Jackson, Kizarny, Funaki, Vladmir Kozlov, Ranjin Singh, The Miz, Ricky Ortiz, and Boogeyman. Those would be the first round of cuts I would make. That would slim down the roster of wrestlers that are either uninteresting, long past due in being cut, or just don?t deserve to be on my T.V. screen. I would say cut the Divas, but if I went with just the Divas with wrestling skill, we would see Mickie James vs Beth Phoenix vs Nattie Neidhart every week. The resulting roster after the cuts would be much more manageable in a three show environment.
Now that we have our belts and our roster, let’s take a look at the television shows. Raw and Smackdown! are the staples so they would obviously stay. With the renaming of the ECW title to the Extreme Rules title, ECW (in name) is gone. I smell a return of HeAT or Velocity. I would say HeAT since it has a little more history and in its inception, was built to be a true third show until they decided to use it for curtain jerkers and developmental talent. On to talent placement.
Raw is your main show so I would place your most solid main eventers on that show coupled with mid-card and upper card talent. Smackdown! is the B Show so I would use this show to place some solid main eventers, and mix in some of the mid card and curtain jerker talent. HeAT will return to its days of old as in a small one hour show with about four matches consisting of all talent that is not a main eventer with the exception of once in a while where a main eventer is needed to help progress a storyline, but I would keep HeAT more to a pure wrestling show instead of an entertainment show. That is what we have Raw and Smackdown! for, but I wouldn?t make HeAT out to be the jobber show that it once was. Now, just because I classified different ranks of talents per show doesn?t mean I split the brands. I?m just saying that we would more than likely see talent in those brackets on their respective shows.
I think working under one umbrella once again could work for the WWE a lot better than having brands separated. It provides for more interesting feuds and angles at any given time and not just when it’s time for a major PPV. It makes the championships mean a lot more, and the most important thing that I didn?t mention is that it only requires one writing crew which means better focus on the overall product which could lead to better storylines.
I know the this week’s column is running long and, trust me, I could rant on for about six or seven more pages, but for the sake of keeping it as short as possible, I?ll end it here with some reader E-Mail.
Suzanne Abshire writes in for the second week in a row (hey I have a follower! Yay!)
There are rumors that Sonjay Dutt is already in talks with WWE.? If he doesn’t end up going their then he should see if ROH wants him.
A columnist on another website is suggesting that Ric Flair could be coming to ROH to manage his son Reid.
Speaking of Ring of Honor… (I smell segue) it’s time for the main portion of your column.
HDNet owner Mark Cuban is hoping that ROH fans complain to their Dish/Cable TV Companies until they add the channel to the network.
I think it is a good deal for ROH because even if it fails it won’t hurt them.
Jeff Wilks writes:
I agree with what you said about roh and hdnet. I too don?t have hdnet on my satellite package so I cant watch any roh when it does air.
Since you like roh I?m pretty sure you are happy that cm punk made it for money in the bank!
Yes I am. I was actually hoping for John Morrison since he deserves the push, but the ROHbot inside of me was happy with the former Chick Magnet getting another shot.
That will do it for me this week. The feedback question for this week is your thoughts on ending the brand split and whether or not you think it would work this late in the game. Of course, if you want to discuss something else besides the main point of the column such as why the Pirate Bay trial makes me die a little bit on the inside, why weevils continuously eat your crops, or your thoughts on Braden Walker’s 2009 Hall of Fame Induction (youtube that if you haven?t seen it already), you can hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also if you have Facebook, you can friend request me via the WrestleView group as some of you already have! Until next time?
Because I can.