“Styling and Profiling” ? Main Event Shuffle
Headed into Summerslam, the WWE’s RAW brand just seems like a giant cluster to me. Am I the only one that feels this way? The roster is obviously stacked with talent.
Big Show (maybe not now that he’s with Chris Jericho on Smackdown)
That doesn?t even include guys like the Miz and the rest of the lower-card guys that we see on a fairly regular basis. Despite this massive talent base (or maybe because of the massive talent base) the brand just feels empty and devoid of anything fresh and exciting. Contrast that with Smackdown, which I personally feel is a total joy to watch week in and week out. Either way, I?m hopeful that after last night’s episode of RAW, that the brand is finally headed in the right direction with Randy Orton and John Cena set to square off at Summerslam. This is reminiscent of two years ago when Cena was in the midst of an incredibly long title reign and people were about ready to sacrifice their wife and kids to the God’s above in order to get the belt off of Cena. The difference this time is that the WWE title has been tossed around like a hot potato the past year or so and I really don?t care who wins. In fact, I care so little that I?d almost like to see Orton, Cena, and Triple H trade the title all the way up until Wrestlemania where Triple H can celebrate his 17th title reign on the “Grandest Stage of Them All”. I?d love to see the internet message boards all simultaneously explode with the Triple H hate and venom that runs so deep the people writing it spontaneously combusted. But I digress, I?m happy that it appears we are going to have a good feud headed into Summerslam, although I can?t help but feel we may still get Triple H inserted into the main event. I hope I?m wrong.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand which is the RAW scene and how to clean up the trainwreck. I really believe the WWE’s plan of stacking the RAW brand has backfired to a certain extent. By putting Orton, Cena, and Triple H all on the same brand they?ve basically crowded out the rest of the roster from the top. I?m not saying guys like MVP and Jack Swagger should be main eventing PPV’s, but I think the exposure they are going to get on RAW puts them in a position where maybe they can get a crack at main event in the fall and then have them pushed back down to the mid-card. It wouldn?t hurt, and it’s a good way of giving a guy exposure to a big match environment, and to see what kind of potential is a guy has in his ability to get over with the fans. Overall though, I think after last night’s show they are headed in the right direction. Sticking Big Show with Jericho alleviates a lot of the pressure on the RAW brand in the sense that now you don?t have to worry about finding time for Show every week. He can show up on ECW or Smackdown and still get weekly exposure without filling up 10 minutes of RAW every week. I also think that RAW (and really the other brands too) could benefit from promoting their weekly match up on Superstars every week. I don?t always have time to watch Superstars, but when I have I?ve enjoyed it. It seems to be a breeding ground for quality TV matches, and a place were lower card feuds get developed. Maybe I miss it since I watch RAW on DVR, but I really think the WWE is missing an opportunity to push feuds through Superstars. For example, a couple of weeks ago we had Jack Swagger and MVP wrestle a one on one match which Swagger won cleanly. Why not push those two to Superstars? Set the match up by having a backstage confrontation between the two on RAW that results in a match on Superstars. I realize in that case they had had a confrontation on MVP’s VIP Lounge the week before, but a 1-2 minute encounter backstage week later isn?t likely to hurt the feud. If anything, I?d say it would help draw more interest in it, and perhaps even draw more interest in Superstars. One final RAW note: Did anyone else think Big Show’s ring attire made him look like a retarded manatee? I couldn?t even watch the final match on RAW this week because I was mesmorized by his ring attire. I know that makes me some sort of sick freak, but it was blinding, kind of like the sun.
As a whole, Smackdown just seems to be in a better spot than RAW. The mid-card may not be as deep as RAW’s, but I tend to feel they use the pieces better. Ziggler, Khali, Mysterio, and Kane all seem to have found a place on the brand and involved in something at least semi-interesting. Every segment seems to squeeze the most out of what’s there. Something RAW could really learn from.
I found it odd that Punk dropped the strap to Hardy for a couple of reasons. The first of which is obvious. Hardy’s on his way out the door and as far as we know hasn?t signed a new deal with the company. The other reason is strictly personal. As a person, I think Jeff Hardy is a piece of crap. I don?t currently know what Jeff Hardy’s condition is relative to his use of recreational drugs, but I know he’s obviously had problems with them in the past, as evidenced by his de-push and suspension around the time of Wrestlemania 24. I thought that was enough to de-push him permanently (not because of my dislike for him, but because it was two strikes against him in terms of the drug policy), or at least mire him in mid-card hell. But alas, I was wrong. Instead, and to his credit, he got things together and made his way back to the main event scene. Either way, I couldn?t help but be disinterested in his rise back to the top. Part of it was a personal reason. I am someone who has had to work very hard for everything he’s ever gotten in his life, I felt Jeff didn?t really take the opportunity in front of him very seriously. Especially when reports surfaced that he refused to enter drug rehab after his second strike on the wellness policy. His contention was that he didn?t have a problem. That in and of itself is a sign that the man had a problem. I felt that Hardy must not have passion for professional wrestling, or perhaps, felt that he was so popular with the fans that he?d be able to mess up as many times as he wanted and find himself on top near the main event scene despite what he did. The attitude and responses he made struck me much the same way RVD and his comments have (for the record, I think RVD is a piece of crap too). So in my mind, here was Jeff Hardy, haphazardly caring about reaching the pinnacle of his profession in the prime of his career. Contrast to my situation. I?m currently in grad school and have spent countless hours studying, networking, and making contacts in hopes that I can break into the industry I want to one day work in. The problem is that industry is an incredibly tough industry to break into. I am not going to break into it without substantial hard work. One screw up on my behalf and my chances of making it are likely dead in the water. Then there’s Jeff Hardy who gives off the perception that he doesn?t care. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Factor in that it’s likely Hardy has signed a short-term deal now that he has taken the World Heavyweight Title away from CM Punk, and it leaves a little bit more of a bitter taste in my mouth. It makes me feel as if the WWE is pandering to the guy. Now from a business standpoint I can hardly blame them. He’s a merchandise machine, sells tickets, and could admit to plotting 9/11 and still be cheered by the fans. Clearly if I were in the same position as the WWE I would do the same thing. My friend John had what I consider to be the best match to blow this feud off with at Summerslam. A ?Syringe Full of Drugs on a Pole Match?. The match is as simple as it sounds. The winner of the match wins by pulling a syringe full of whatever the popular drug is these days off the pole, and sticks the other person. For me it works both ways. If Punk wins, Hardy gets his third substance abuse violation. If Hardy wins, then Punk’s straight edge gimmick is tarnished and he has more of a reason to come out to the crowd, whine, and draw more heel heat. On top of that, TNA could copy the gimmick and main event every Impact with it.
I admit that I probably shouldn?t care about any of this at all. I probably shouldn?t care what Jeff Hardy does, and to some degree I don?t. It’s not like I sit up at night and think about how much I can?t stand Jeff Hardy as a person and how I?m being wronged by him. It’s not like that at all. I just find his general attitude and demeanor towards the opportunity in front of him to be rather revolting. And seeing as wrestling is one of my favorite hobbies, it tends to be something I analyze a bit more intently then I would other circumstances.
Now, all rambling aside (which is basically what my column has turned into since I had about a million things on my mind when I sat down to write today), I think the WWE is in a good spot headed into the fall. I know a lot of people aren?t fans of the Big Show/Jericho pairing, but I think this is going to be a huge asset to the company. Big Show and Jericho are going to give young guys rub just by being in the ring with them. We saw some of that with Legacy and Cryme Time. I expect we?ll see a bit more. Plus, this helps keep Jericho and Show relevant without having them languish in meaningless feuds. I fully expect CM Punk to win the title back at Summerslam, and wouldn?t mind seeing him keep the belt until Wrestlemania. I?d really like to see him get into a feud with The Undertaker through Survivor Series that ends with Taker being screwed out of a title reign. Follow that up with Punk basically hiding from Taker through January, then revisit the feud at Wrestlemania 26 and have Punk drop the belt to Taker there.
On the RAW side, I?m not really sure what to expect from the main event scene. I?d like to see Orton keep the belt for an extended period of time, but this feud with Triple H has really taken away a lot of steam from Orton. I?m almost tempted to want to see Cena win the belt at Summerslam, and have Orton win it back at Survivor Series and keep it until Wrestlemania where he can wrestle either Batista or Cena in what would be a huge match. Triple H I?m still clueless on. Personally I?d turn him heel, full heel, like 2005 Ric Flair feud heel, and stick him in a program with MVP. I think that would help MVP develop and give Triple H something to do that doesn?t involve the WWE Title. Mark Henry, Miz, and John Morrison are number of other guys who don?t have programs and I haven?t even really touched on guys like Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio, Christian, and Kofi Kingston.
One final note before I wrap things up for this month. I have an unnatural dislike of Michael Cole. I know he’s a hard worker, but I cannot stand anything that comes out of his mouth. In fact, these days the only thing that I hear when he speaks is the Lucky Charms Leprechaun screaming, “They?re after me lucky charms!”. If you look closely you can see the resemblance. That being said, I?ve never done anything like this before, but I?m actually interested in sending a petition to the WWE to bring JR back to RAW. My ears can only take so much Michael Cole.
Until next time! Cheers!