Bragging Rights 2009: The Hangover
The criticisms of this show’s supposed backdrop or gimmick were heard over three months ago. Ditching the ?Cyber Sunday? moniker for ?Bragging Rights? and favoring a ?Smackdown vs. Raw? gimmick to sell their new video game over an internet polling gimmick seemed very capitalistic of WWE? programming a pay-per-view that promotes your video game.
All past disparagements aside, this was the pay-per-view WWE wanted Wrestlemania to be. The card of this program played out perfectly for those who had left the professional wrestling fold or who had been coerced in by their friends of the industry.
All you need to do is compare the two main events. Wrestlemania 25’s ?Silver Buzzkill?, WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Triple H for the title, left many professional wrestling virgins confused. If you were being ushered in as a new participant and were relying solely on video clips within the pay-per-view to build you for the contest? you would have a lot of questions running through your mind.
Who was the bad guy? The guy who took out the other’s family and wife? Or the guy who broke into the other’s home and terrorized his family and wife? Who should we be cheering for?
With Bragging Rights? No Holds Barred Iron Man Title Match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and John Cena, there was no question who everyone was supposed to be rooting for even after watching just the video package and knowing nothing of specifics on the past.
One guy kicked the other’s father in the head; the other had surgery and returned to torment the other. There is a champion grimacing with impatience and exasperation at the sight of the challenger’s smile and determined eyes boring back at him.
With another newly-renamed WWE pay-per-view potentially validated and thousands of prospective professional wrestling fans obtained, it’s time to piece together what happened last night, look in the mirror, splash some cold water on our faces, and answer some questions?
Who benefitted the most from their match: John Morrison or The Miz?
It was a solid 10-15 minute match between two champions from different brands. These were former tag team partners that formed what some consider being the most charismatic team over the past two years. More important than these accolades and labels, John Morrison and The Miz have slowly but surely been ushered into higher profile matches and impending main event status.
Although The Miz won his match last night against his former partner, it’s very difficult to say who truly benefitted from the outcome. Does this really mean that Miz is better than Morrison? Could Miz move quicker and generate more crowd pops/heat than Morrison? Will Miz reach a pay-per-view main event before Morrison?
From my vantage point, I don?t see either one being better or ranking higher than the other. For one, being on two different programs alters what their match’s outcome was meant to produce. It will be very interesting to see where they will be when March 2010 comes up and the 26th edition of Wrestlemania sets into place. Could one of them be in a main event? Could both be in ?Money in the Bank?? Will one or both still be with the company? Time will tell?
How active of a World Champion will Undertaker be?
I am not asking this question out of concern of legitimacy to a title. I belong to the clique of wrestling enthusiasts that believes belts and titles are used as props to elevate a performers? personality and their ‘spot? within the pecking order. With that said, there is no question about Undertaker’s status within WWE.
The purpose of my question regarding Undertaker’s activity as champion is this: How many matches will we see involving him where he has as little activity and involvement as possible from here until Wrestlemania? Imagine the number of Triple Threats, Fatal Four-Ways and Scramble Matches that could possibly fill pay-per-view cards involving Undertaker and his coveted title.
If we do happen to see him perform in another singles title defense, can you picture him facing anyone other than Batista? The reason I don?t place Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, or John Morrison into the equation is painfully obvious; Undertaker cannot move as quick to keep up with the younger names within the roster. Unfortunately, it cannot be helped and is something we have all come to admit.
Could the 14-man tag team match have been better or worse?
As many of you know, I have never been a fan of the ?cluster.? match (any contest involving more than 5 or 6 performers). So when it was announced three weeks ago that there would be a 7-on-7 tag team match for brand supremacy, I could only shake my head. If this were an elimination-style match it would still garner the same reaction from me; but at the same time it would have been nearly impossible to achieve with over an hour-long Iron Man Match looming on the card’s horizon.
Did this match really need to have so many participants? How much of an impact did Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Finlay, and R-Truth have in this match? Could this have been a 5-on-5 match and still have been as effective or even more so?
The bigger question is this: If Vince McMahon did not have his epiphany the Monday before Bragging Rights; would the originally-formed Smackdown team have been just as effective in the ring and given just as entertaining a performance? I wish I could say yes but it just too early to predict that Drew McIntyre and Eric Escobar would have belonged in this contest. Their only purpose would have been for the filler spots taken by Finlay and R-Truth.
I would have liked this match a little more if it did not have as many performers in it but it still served its purpose. We now have new feuds to talk about on Raw with Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes and another Triple H/Big Show rivalry. The wheels are now turning for every analyst’s and columnist’s ever-brewing prediction and assumption: The inevitable break-up of Legacy and eventual face-turn of Ted DiBiase.
If the Cena/Orton rivalry is finally over? what now?
Before I go into ?the hangover? from what could possibly be match-of-the-year, every fan and enthusiast who is denigrating the final twenty seconds of this match need to stop right now. If you are going to disregard this as a great HOUR-LONG match because you did not appreciate the final dwindling seconds of it, then you might as well not watch sports at all.
How many times have you watched a sporting event (pick a sport, any sport), been thoroughly engaged in it through its entirety, and then been let down by the final outcome because it didn?t turn out how you wanted it?
?Last year’s Super Bowl was great and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, but I just didn?t like how David Tyree made that miraculous catch in the final minutes of the game.?
Don?t read into this analogy deeper than you should. I know the differences between sports and professional wrestling; but there is no difference between the amount of enthusiasm and excitement that you have when watching either of them.
As predicted on the recap of Bragging Rights last night on the WrestleView Radio Network, we are all in agreement that there will definitely be Triple Threat matches and Fatal Four-Ways involving these two for the WWE Title. There should be no obnoxious questions regarding the title or who would be considered contenders for it.
The bigger question? Are John Cena and Randy Orton still the top face and heel performers in WWE respectively? If so, will they continue to be even when they are not facing each other directly?
It’s amazing to say or comprehend, but I don?t see anything changing as far as the landscape of good and evil. If you wanted to switch either one of their personas to heel or face, who would you do it against?
John Cena turning on Degeneration-X you say? how many matches has Cena had against Triple-H or Shawn Michaels with ambiguous personas? Who were the good and evil in those matches? If you can?t answer that, then John Cena will continue to be the top face.
Randy Orton turning on Legacy you suggest? doing that does the unthinkable. You are subliminally placing Ted DiBiase or Cody Rhodes on a higher pedestal than Randy Orton. Blasphemy!
With Survivor Series looming, we can assume we will see the typical elimination-style match involving Raw performers, teams captained by Cena and Orton. This is another opportunity for WWE to build new talent and establish who the new personalities are that represent the good and evil of the roster.
This incredibly hectic, pay-per-view-heavy month is finally over. Maybe now I can stop getting inebriated with questions about the futures of organizations and ease back into the sobriety of thoroughly dissecting the important news of the week.
One step at a time.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: firstname.lastname@example.org.