Extreme Boredom

People have been wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been getting emails, tweets and messages on Facebook asking me what I’ve thought about the post-Wrestlemania / Brock Lesnar era taking place on WWE television these days.

I haven’t been answering. I haven’t been saying much. I haven’t been too interested in what’s going on. Frankly, I’ve been finding it hard to watch anything WWE lately. I haven’t been caring.

I’m well aware that Brock Lesnar has come back, and yes I’ve tuned in enough to see him F5ing Cena, cutting his pretaped promo and doing that awful contract signing segment. I saw Edge return to tell Cena that he needs to be the Cena he used to be (which I’m fairly certain is the same Cena we’re still watching.) Ultimately, I haven’t been pulled in.

There is some argument that could be made saying I’ve fallen victim to the infamous Wrestlemania hangover. I can’t argue against that, but to say I think that is only a small fraction of why I am not enthralled by current WWE programming.

I consider it more logical to chalc it up to several factors. After watching WWE for years, and seeing the past few where it has been, debatably, bouncing from good to dreadful, it can be difficult to replenish that interest which caused me to tune in in the first place.

Sure, I like Brock Lesnar and I popped just as loud as most people did when he arrived and wiped the floor with John Cena. Internally, I can’t help but wonder if this is half because of my interest in Lesnar and half because of my hatred for Cena. I watched Jericho smash a bottle of Punk’s head with as much interest as the next guy, and laughed just as hard when Jericho slipped in the fake liquor. Still, something is missing here for me as well.

So, what’s the problem? I’ll tell you. First and foremost, I just sat through an entire year of John Cena being the main event focus while not in the title chase and I’m simply not interested in watching it happen again. I don’t care how many times he makes his boo-boo face and puts a ridiculous looking chain around his neck. I’m tired of Cena and I thought, I hoped, I wished, I pleaded, that after Wrestlemania we’d get to see just a little less of this guy. Well, we’re seeing more. I can’t take it. I can’t take this guy.

I love the Rock, but wasn’t too into the angle because it involved Cena. I think Brock is awesome, but I’d rather watch him feud with Santino than John Cena. Cena has the magical ability to disrupt any sense of realism (I know, it’s fake, but you want suspended disbelief) that could exist without his BS. I can’t torture myself to watch this guy.

The Jericho / Punk thing was certainly interesting. I thought it was a little unnecessary to involve family members, but I did think it was funny because Jericho is a promo master and he sold it like gold. I thought Jericho breaking the bottle over Punk’s head was great. Then they had to do that angle with Punk coming out of the Pub which I found to be stupid. I thought they couldn’t get much stupider until I saw the retarded sobriety test angle. I changed channels back to the NHL Playoffs faster than it became clear Punk was only pretending.

These are two talented wrestlers, great promo men and interesting personalities who are trying to sell a match by acting like total goofball morons. It’s a sad state of affairs when the best way to sell what could be a fantastic match is to have them acting like children. Jericho comes off like he’s too stupid to see what’s happening, which is fine if you do it after the buildup, and Punk looks like a fool for playing along with it. Remember when he was all about pipebombs?

The rest of it, I’ll just run through quickly. If a Bella is Diva’s champion than Kharma better be coming back.. oh it didn’t matter, WWE could care less about the title so why should I? Orton vs Kane.. again.. really.. don’t do this to me. The Miz is challenging for the US title against the great champion of…. Santino. Right. Usually Santino is telling jokes, but here the joke is on us. I could go on, but why bother?

So, I’m trying WWE. I am. I’m trying to watch and I’m trying to care and I’m trying to fight through this, but they’re certainly not making it easy on me. Maybe I’m alone, and maybe you guys are loving this right now. I’m glad for you if you are, but I’m certainly struggling to keep my television tuned in. Maybe it will get better.

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Miami Heat


Wrestlemania is almost impossible to put into words. There is so much to take in. The spectacle, the matches, the crowd, the atmosphere. Ultimately, it is WWE hitting the reset button and initiating a new year of programming.

Wrestlemania 27 was not nearly as good as it was made out to be. There were a lot of fans feeling let down after last years event. It all felt so half-assed, thrown together and poorly executed minus the Triple H vs Undertaker Match.

Wrestlemania 28 was a thousand percent better.

This isn’t to say that Wrestlemania 28 didn’t have its down times. Many people are upset about Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Despite my sincerest efforts, I simply cannot muster up and explanation. Hopefully, desperately hopefully, WWE has something in mind and this wasn’t just Vince McMahon giving a giant middle finger to the IWC.

However, I would say, Wrestlemania 28 had greater peaks than it had darker valleys. Jericho and Punk definitely put on a show. This match was not the five star classic some had come to expect, but their performance was by no means a letdown. It was entertaining, back and forth and the closing five minutes of reversals and tapout teases was extraordinarily executed. I’d have gone with a different finish, had Punk lose and then have him walk into his hometown of Chicago as the challenger next month.

Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels reminded us that wrestling can be one hell of thing when it is done correctly. A nearly flawless match that absolutely lived up to whatever hype was drummed up in the past few weeks. That match has a series of moments (Triple H jumping back when Undertaker sat up, Shawn Michaels pleading with both men, the Superkick / Pedigree combination, blood, spit and eats) that should, and will, live on in the legacy of Wrestlemania. What this match did leave us with though, is three important questions: Was this the Undertakers last match? Is Triple H down for good? Was this the last gasp of the attitude era?

There were so many questions, doubts, backstage rumors, on screen bombs and chaotic experiences leading up to John Cena vs the Rock. Did this match payoff? Absolutely. Understandably there are some upset John Cena fans, but as someone who dislikes John Cena (his character, not the Make-A-Wish champion) I think this is the absolute best thing that could happen to him. This will force Cena to go to new places, assuming that he sells this loss and doesn’t come out giggling tonight like he often does after a big loss. If this is handled properly, John Cena could come out of this shinning. Also, no one should associate the Rock winning to the Rock not giving John Cena some amazing shine and Legendary rub.

The Rock proved he could still go. John Cena proved he could hold his own against the greatest superstar of all time. This is absolutely a win win situation that WWE can make into something even more amazing. Remember, folks, there’s always the possibility that this is a best of three series. I certainly hope not, I’d rather this was a one time thing.

Wrestlemania 28 was definitely a great show worth watching and paying attention to. The challenge for WWE coming out of this, which could be a fantastic thing, is to build new stars so that next years roster is full of young talent rather than returning names and old stalwarts. It’s time for a changing of the guard, but don’t be surprised if they wait until Wrestlemania 30 to make the switch. Next year they may want to cash in on that New Jersey, New York attitude with some old names. We know the Rock will be there, speculation points to Brock Lesnar and don’t forget a beer drinking, ass kicking, mudhole stomping guy from Texas with some gas left in the tank who might want to make a last impression.

Wrestlemania 28, as a whole, did what it was supposed to do. It reinvigorated, and for the most part, it paid off what it has been hyping. I rate the event an eight out of a possible ten. The eighteen second world title match kept this away from being a nine. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Good ol’ Jim Ross showed why he is, was , and always will be, the best announcer in the business.

Monday Night Raw has all the potential to be absolutely amazing tonight. Maybe WWE will show us that they don’t just pull out all of the stops for Wrestlemania.

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Wrestlemania Questions

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In 9 days, all of our questions will be answered. In 9 days, the big names will clash and the face of the WWE will be changed. In 9 days, Wrestlemania 28 will come and deliver or fall short of expectation. No matter how you slice it, we are 9 days away from what is being pushed as the biggest Wrestlemania of all time (they should have gotten Tony Schiavone to announce that.)

Wrestlemania 28 is almost upon us and there are a few burning questions which are only going to scorch that much hotter in the 9 days leading up the event. There are several matches on this show whose outcomes will define the future of WWE for, at least, the next few months. There is a rumor that next years Main Event will be announced a year in advance, again, so it is probable that this event could lead to another year of build up (or tear down, based on your perspective) of the Rock, or perhaps, another name from the past.

Regardless of where you stand on the feuds heading into the event, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few of the questions which will, hopefully, be answered.

Does Kane vs Randy Orton do anything to help either of these guys?
Kane is facing Randy Orton in what could best be described as a last minute, thrown together feud all revolving around Kane randomly attacking Orton. It should be obvious that this match is being given to these two to assure them a place on the Wrestlemania card, but not to do much more. I sincerely doubt that the outcome of this match makes any difference whatsoever for either of these men. It seems highly unlikely this could be a sleeper match that steals the show, and even less likely that it will result in a long standing Orton vs Kane feud, which I’m not sure anyone would want to see anyway. You can’t get much lower on the card, short of being in a twelve man tag match. Speaking of which…

Team Teddy vs Team Johnny – Does it Matter?
We all know that Team Teddy will face Team Johnny at Wrestlemania with the winning team winning control of both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown for their respective namesakes. The question lingering here is, who cares? Whether Teddy or Johnny are in charge, it isn’t going to make a bit of difference. They’re going to be the same shows, ultimately. The only difference is whether or not we have to see Johnny introduce himself randomly or Teddy saying “Hold on playa.” The result of this match will change absolutely nothing, aside from who you see as the GM from time to time. Let’s face it, the GM storylines have been played out for years. Johnny has become a pretty big heat magnet, but I could live without having a GM on either show.

Who truly is the best in the world?
Chris Jericho vs CM Punk was originally billed as the Battle of the Best in the World. This has recently taken a backseat to being the battle of the straight edge superstar with a family history of drug an alcohol abuse versus the smug, not sure where he stands, he wasn’t talking, but now he is, Chris Jericho. To both men’s credit, they’ve managed to take a WWE Title match, which should be important but has been almost ignored by WWE, and made it must-see-TV. This angle has been excellently executed, and last weeks attack from Chris Jericho on CM Punk’s sister was nearly flawless. It should also come as no surprise that these two are highly capable of tearing the non-existent roof off of Wrestlemania. One question which lingers is, does CM Punk walk out with the title only to defend it the next month in Chicago, or does he walk into Chicago as the challenger? Either way, I don’t foresee this match letting anyone down.

Does anyone remember Sheamus is facing Daniel Bryan?
You can’t be faulted if you’ve forgotten, WWE hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to make this match seem like something you can’t live without. I hear more about AJ than I hear about Sheamus when Daniel Bryan is on my screen. Regardless of WWE’s severe lack of push for this World Heavyweight Title Match, this could absolutely be that sleeper. Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were the opening dark match last year and you have to believe they want to show WWE and the world exactly how good they can be. Keep your eyes open during this one because it may be the show stealer.

Does Big Show’s embarrassment continue?
Cody Rhodes has made it his business over the past few weeks to go out of his way to show recaps of Big Show’s most embarrassing Wrestlemania moments. From Big Show getting beaten by Floyd Mayweather to hosting a dinner party at the old WWE restaurant in Time Square. This past Monday, Cody handcuffed Big Show to the ropes and delivered several blows which resulted in the announcers pushing that Big Show was officially pissed. There is more than meets the eye on the line in this match. Cody Rhodes has held the Intercontinental Title for quite some time and is giving some credibility back to it. Should he lose, and the belt goes to Show, does this destroy the small build they’ve been giving that belt? If Rhodes should win, where does he go from there and could this be a step toward the main event? This all remains to be seen, and though I have complete confidence in Rhodes abilities, I do question the quality of this match and whether or not it is granted more than seven or eight minutes.

Does Maria Menounos actually qualify a celebrity?
This is highly debatable. What is not debatable is that WWE continues showing just how unimportant they consider their Divas division to be. Imagine the awesome matches we could have gotten in place of this tag team debacle; Beth Phoenix vs Natalya was a match I was truly hoping for. Two tough, gorgeous, badass women going out there and showing what women’s wrestling can actually be. Instead we’ve got Beth working with Eve whose claim to fame is being called a whore, Kelly Kelly whose wrestling skill is somewhere on par with a door mat and Maria Menounos who.. hosts a level C show where they talk about celebrities. Perhaps the burning question here is WHY?!

Does the Undertaker’s streak end?
I’d say there is a good chance the streak stays in tact, but this could be the last harah for the Undertaker. He’s been through a hell of a lot, and aside from wrestling once a year, I can’t see him doing much more after this. WWE have gone out of their way to make it debatable as to whether or not Triple H can end the streak and the involvement of Shawn Michaels is pivotal. The problem is, does anyone truly believe that if there streak were to end it’d be to Triple H? It seems unlikely they’d have HBK screw the Undertaker, and if he screwed Triple H it seems worthless since he has said he will not wrestle again. Is it possible he’d come back for Triple H’s last match? Maybe, but I think it is highly unlikely the Undertaker will lose. One question I have, though, is can these three live up to the hype and deliver a Hell in a Cell match worthy of the grand stage of Wrestlemania? We shall see.

Do the Rock and John Cena make it worth our while?
The hype has been insane. Between personal attacks, cutdowns, verbal assaults, songs, raps and everything in between, we have been told, time and time again, that this is the biggest match in Wrestlemania history. The ratings for Raw argue that fact, hell the ratings seem to show that this match doesn’t mean a great deal. Then again, maybe people have stopped watching because they’ve already decided to buy the show and they don’t want to watch these guys behave like children any further. Suffice it to say, this Monday has the dubious challenge of making this entire years feud come to a head where you can’t live without seeing what happens. What matters, though? The match? Absolutely. These two who have legit heat have to make a match together that will go down in history as amazing. What also matters, though, is what comes after. I’ve been pretty vocal about this, and it remains true today, I have no idea who is going to win this match. If Cena loses, well then he lost to a guy who is a part timer and hasn’t wrestled a singles match in years. If the Rock loses, well, actually, does it really matter to him? Probably not, but it seems likely a Cena victory would ensure Wrestlemania goes off the air to a sea of boos. I somehow doubt this is where they want to go. Ultimately though, will this match and the result make the past year worth the while for those of us who have committed to it? It better. Also, does the rumor come true and do we see the Miz make an appearance?

So many questions linger about Wrestlemania 28 and we’re only 9 days away from having all of the answers we’ve been seeking. Truly though, one of the greatest questions is what happens in 17 days. The Raw a week after the one which follows Mania. No more Rock, Undertaker, HBK. More than likely Triple H will be back behind the scenes. The show will fall back to the default superstars. Do the ratings continue their steady decline, and if so, what is done to correct it? This is a much more precarious time, creatively, for WWE than we have seen in a long time. Ultimately the one question which will remain is: Where do we go from here?

The 2012 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble was once my favorite WWE PPV of the year. I always loved the Royal Rumble match. There is so much anticipation and excitement to see who is coming in, when, who will be eliminated and how, and of course, who will win. Each year the winner goes on to challenge for the title in the main event at Wrestlemania. For a long time, I really enjoyed going back and watching the 1994 Royal Rumble. I thought the angle of having dual winners was pretty exciting, plus, it hadn’t been done before. These days, I go back and watch a lot of the older Rumbles. Mostly for nostalgic value, but also because they seemed more important back then.

The Rumble is still an exciting match to watch, if for no reason other than to see people clashing in the ring that you never see against each other. It’s always fun to see tag team partners going after each other, two faces locking up in front of a divided crowd. The Rumble also provides moments for people to stand out, to do things that make their time in that ring memorable, even if they don’t go on to win it. I think back to Diesel eliminating a ton of people, CM Punk preaching to the crowd, Beth Phoenix taking a GTS. How about those surprise entrants? It’s always cool to see an old name or a surprising return.

A few things have happened which has made the Royal Rumble fall a few notches in my book, however. First of all, they keep trying to inject a lot of comedy in there. Maybe they’ve done this back in the day as well, but if so, they did it better. Watching someone like Santino get in there and jump around like a fool or Hornswoggle spending so much time bouncing around and emulating various wrestlers. It makes the match seem less important, then again, WWE has spent a lot of time making a lot of things feel less important than they used to be.

Another thing that has negatively impacted the importance of the Royal Rumble is the Elimination Chamber PPV. Whereas, in the past, the winner of the Rumble would challenge for the title and that match would be built up from the Rumble until Wrestlemania, now we have this extra PPV thrown in where the titles can (and have) changed. You lose several weeks of build up and while you could have a Rumble winner matching up against someone you really want to see him face, come February the title changes hands and you don’t get it. Also, which I’ve not really understood, the point of winning the Rumble is to get that title shot but, even if you don’t win, there’s a chance you’ll be one of the handful of people in the Elimination Chamber to challenge for it the next month anyway. I enjoy Elimination Chamber, but I’d move it further in the year. Replace one of those half-assed PPVs that nobody orders with the Chamber. There are several moments throughout the year where there is nothing that has a “big time” feel to it. You could easily shift Elimination Chamber to one of those times.

Finally, and this is highly specific to this year, the winner of the Royal Rumble is NOT going to challenge for the title in the Main Event, unless the Rock wins the Royal Rumble and John Cena is the champion. Hasn’t WWE made it clear that their Wrestlemania main event is going to be Cena vs the Rock? Didn’t we also get Shawn Michaels vs the Undertaker Part 2 as the main event over the title match that year, as well? It may just be a matter of semantics, but just change the language and remove “in the main event” from the promotion. “The Winner of the Rumble goes on to challenge for the title at Wrestlemania.” Sounds fine to me, but if you’re going to tell me it is the main event, and then it isn’t, I feel slighted.

Last year the Royal Rumble was 40 competitors. This year, we’re back to 30. I’m not sure why that is, and I don’t really have a big problem with this, but it’d be nice to have been given some sort of an explanation. It seemed as though last year’s Rumble worked out very well, I know I enjoyed it. Why the shift back to 30? Also, what the hell does it mean that “this year, every superstar is eligible?” Weren’t they always?

This year, it’s as up in the air as it always is. 30 competitors, but really only a handful of people who are probable to win. It seems likely that some names to be considered for victory this year have to be some of the old standbys; Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, for instance. Then again, there has been some speculation about people like Sheamus or the Miz. Will we see the return of some previously injured people, or people who haven’t been on television lately? Sometimes WWE likes to have a big return and give the victory to that person, see John Cena and Edge, for example. Honestly, this year, I have not yet decided on who I am putting my money on. This is partially due to the possibilities and partially due to WWE’s failure to make any one person stand out. It all seems arbitrary sometimes.

Either way, I know that this Sunday I will be sitting in front of my television watching the 2012 Royal Rumble. I can’t resist it, it will always be one of my favorite PPVs. It kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania, it plants the seeds for Wrestlemania, it is the first PPV of the year and it can often show us how the entire year is going to trend. Let’s hope this year is the best one yet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Plot Holes

Storylines have always played an important role in the wrestling business.  It is the story that drives the matches.  The hook, the angle, whatever you want to call it, is what makes you want to see these two people go at it in the ring.  WWE was one great at developing storylines and stringing them out over long period of time.  They let things develop, they allowed heat to build.  They’d get you to the point where you absolutely had to see this match happen.  These days, however, WWE doesn’t seem to be able (or willing) to keep track of the details.  Things are slipping through the cracks, in some cases, and in others they are blatantly ignored.  Whether it’s Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn or another major player behind the scenes, they seem to have lost their patience and their ability to allow things to play out.  Everything is being forced, and as a result, logic is behind left behind.  There are some plot holes large enough to drive a beer truck through.

One item which is a great example of WWE’s recent tendency to simply dismiss storylines in mid-swing is the anonymous Raw General Manager.  For months we went through the agonizing annoyance of watching matches and angles get directed through the use of a laptop with the most annoying sound effects.  We had to listen to Michael Cole blather on and on as he read the emails which almost always caused some nonsense to occur.  Chris Jericho, when exiting WWE, made it his mission to discover who the anonymous GM was.  Edge once argued with the laptop and then smashed it out of anger.

The anonymous GM ordered the result of the Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole match reversed, he even made the WWE title match at Wrestlemania continue after both men were counted out.  This was a mystery that, love it or hate it, people were invested in.  People wanted to know who the anonymous person was behind the keyboard.  Speculation ran wild and now it appears as though it doesn’t matter.  Maybe it never mattered, maybe they never knew where they were going.  No matter what their original intention it seems glaringly obvious that they just lost faith, interest or care for this storyline.

Recently we’ve had the misfortune of living through the poorly executed Triple H / Johnny Laurenitis / Vince McMahon / Walkout angle.  I will try to break this one down but I can’t promise I won’t lose my mind somewhere in the middle of it.  Vince McMahon was relieved of his duties because he was making poor decisions including but not limited to the CM Punk walkout and the plan to fire John Cena when he lost at Money in the Bank.  Triple H came in to tell him he was relieved of his duties and that Triple H, as COO of the company, would be taking over day to day operations.  He brings back Jim Ross, which makes the fans happy, and makes some other changes like making Raw a Supershow.  John Laurenitis as Senior Vice President of Talent Relations was then working with Triple H, although it seemed apparent to everyone watching, that John was completely working against Triple H.

Triple H bumbled stupidly through many situations and was blindly unaware of the Laurenitis conspiracy against him.  He fought CM Punk because of the whole Kevin Nash debacle which seemed less and less important with each passing day.  He fined R-Truth and the Miz only to fire them later in the show.  They weren’t fired for attacking him or for beating up referees but because they posted a video where they claimed to be proud of what they were doing.  Apparently those fines were never paid.  R-Truth and the Miz came back to beat down Cena, Punk and Del Rio.  The entire lockeroom came out to stop them but couldn’t and eventually they were arrested.  Somehow this resulted in the lockeroom saying that WWE was no longer a safe working environment.  I wasn’t aware that it ever had been.

So, Triple H was then relieved of his duties by none other than Vince McMahon.  So Vince was fired, but then he was selected to tell Triple H he was fired.  No, no no, he wasn’t fired as COO.  He was fired from being the Raw General Manager.  Was anyone aware that Triple H was the Raw General Manager?  I wasn’t.  The board of directors, apparently even more blind than Triple H, then appointed John Laurenitis as interim GM.  Everyone knows John has been up to no good.. except them apparently.  Now, when he takes this position, all of the faces and heels that come walking in are surprisingly more willing to work for him than to work for Triple H.  Apparently they too are blind and stupid.

Laurenitis then fires Jim Ross because he walked out on the company.  I suppose this somewhat makes sense since he is a heel and his actions are supposed to be unjustified but it’s a little weird that no one, including Jerry Lawler, stood up and reminded John that everyone walked out.  However, if Triple H is still COO then why couldn’t he just overrule John’s decision and have Jim Ross not be fired?  Also, when the hell was Triple H the General Manager of Raw?  He was always the COO so he was apparently removed from a false position.  Didn’t we also get a beat down at the end of Raw where R-Truth and the Miz kept attacking Punk until Triple H came out to save him?  Just curious how John Laurenitis being in charge has somehow made the WWE lockeroom feel safer.

There are other details you could look at.  Why did Nash text himself?  Why did Stephanie McMahon show up for two segments only to disappear again?  Is Vince McMahon back with some kind of power now or did the board of directors just think it’d be funny for him to fire Triple H?  If you can figure any of this out I would love to hear what you have to say.  Frankly, WWE isn’t making much sense to me these days and unless they can get back on track and go back to a logical, direct, intelligent style of booking and storyline development I simply don’t see them pulling themselves out of this rut.  Maybe when the Rock comes back it will get better.  At least we know that he actually cares enough to make sure his storyline goes somewhere.

The Only One

The brand split has caused discussion for years amongst WWE fans.  Some would argue the merits of having two separate talent rosters and the benefit it serves in providing a platform where not only the same names have to remain at the top.  Others have said that the fans would lose out on some potential feuds which could not take place with the roster split in half and certain competitors never running into one another.  There has been a certain sentiment toward the idea of a single company having two world champions simultaneously.  With the brand split an argument could be made that you want a world champion on each show, despite the fact that the titles of WWE have less value now than they ever have before.

This past Monday, WWE COO Triple H came out and made what was to be a blockbuster announcement:  from now on RAW would have the rosters of both brands.  This did not turn out to be as big of a deal as you’d imagine it could have been.  Fans seemed to let out a collective sigh at this idea and even those who had argued against the brand split in the past felt underwhelmed by the announcement.  It didn’t feel like a big deal, it didn’t feel like something that could shake up WWE and bring more fascinating storylines to the fans.  It seemed like a desperation move to try and save the dwindling ratings on RAW.  The problem, however, is that the ratings aren’t falling because of a brand split and they’re not falling because Triple H wasn’t on the show.  They are falling because WWE is perpetuating a cycle where mediocre, uninspired, dime a dozen storylines that give us absolutely nothing new and anytime they show us even the slightest glimmer of something better on the horizon they take it away almost as quickly as they teased us with it.

The CM Punk storyline heading into money in the bank is a perfect example.  Punk came out and delivered a worked shoot promo which set the world on fire.  It didn’t matter that this was all a work, it mattered that finally someone was publicly saying what so many fans had been screaming about for years.  Punk truly did become the “Voice of the Voiceless” in that segment.  We had this tremendous build up telling us that if Punk won the title at Money in the Bank he’d be leaving the company with it.  No one expected him to win and when he did, this news once again set the wrestling world on fire.  WWE was giving us something we hadn’t seen before and they were playing it out with intelligence and intrigue.  Then, a week later, Punk came walking out on RAW with a newly signed contract and the WWE title while Cena also had a WWE title.  Then we got SummerSlam and Kevin Nash and we’re in a place that seems boring, uninspired and uninteresting.

The Kevin Nash angle was interesting at first.  Who sent the text and for what reason?  We’ve got a decent list of suspects but does anyone really care anymore?  Triple H is going to face Punk in a match at Night of Champions.  Was there any fanfare, any kind of a big deal moment when this was announced (in the last minute of the show, behind the scenes.)  Triple H is making his return to the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania and it feels like it doesn’t matter, like it’s just another match and there is no big deal.  Shouldn’t WWE have presented this to us like it matters?  This entire thing has been handled poorly.  A few flashes of genius ultimately buried beneath an avalanche of stupid mistakes, poor choices and overall poor booking.  The ratings are in a freefall and Football hasn’t even kicked in yet.  WWE is in for a shock this Fall.  Whereas they used to be able to maintain a 3.5 I’d be shocked to see them grabbing anything higher than a 2.5 this year.

WWE doesn’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that doing this week to week, on the fly booking is hurting them more than anything else.  Nothing feels like it is well thought out and everything feels like it could change at any moment.  Remember the Anonymous General Manager?  If you do then obviously you don’t work for WWE since they’re essentially pretending he doesn’t exist right now.  Remember seeing Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam and RAW the next night but not again?  What was the point of that?  Was she simply a red herring?  I don’t know and right now it doesn’t seem like WWE creative knows either.  When was the last time WWE created a storyline, drew it out and executed it in a way that left you feeling satisfied?  I can’t remember one.  There is a complete lack of consistency and WWE is becoming like the absentee father who always promises things and never delivers.  Eventually you stop believing and you find somewhere else to focus your energies.

I love wrestling and I have loved it since I was a child.  I was drawn in and kept interested in the early 90s.  I lived through the terrible few years after Hogan left and WWE had to build new stars to interest us.  I saw the rise of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and had my dedication rewarded with the sparking of the attitude era.  I have been watching wrestling for longer than most John Cena fans have been alive and yet right now, despite my love for this, I am finding it increasingly difficult to watch anymore.  WWE is like a spinning compass and they can’t find their footing.  They don’t seem to have any real, long term concept of where they want to go and so they fall back on who they always do:  John Cena.  Cena has worn out his welcome for me, and whether I like him or I don’t doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I’m tired of him.  I’m tired of knowing no matter who the WWE champion is they’re going to feud with Cena.  I think Cena is an amazing example of the current state of WWE.  Same thing, different day, same outcome.  I want something new, I want to feel like this all matters and I want to feel like I used to when I loved tuning into WWE television every week.  And I know I’m not the only one.

SummerSlam Reaction

Last night the epic clash of SummerSlam took place live on PPV.  We entered this show with many questions swirling around out there in the ether.  Would we witness the return of the WWE Divas title to a woman who has the skill to carry it?  Would Christian’s surprise insurance policy help or hinder his no holds barred title match against Randy Orton?  When dual WWE Champions clash in the ring for the first time in WWE history who would walk out as the undisputed Champion and would the special referee play a pivotal role in that finish?  All of these questions were answered but in at least one circumstance we find ourselves with new questions we’d not even considered prior to the show.Mysterio, Morrison & Kofi vs Miz, R-Truth and Del Rio:

The non-title matches here were entertaining if somewhat less than stellar.  The show opened with an unnanounced six man tag match with the team of Rey Mysterio, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston squaring off against The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio.  The basic drive of this match was to put some known names into the show (names that should have been there in the first place) and to kick things off with an exciting, crowd pleasing match.  Nothing special here, team Mysterio takes the victory.Sheamus vs Mark Henry:
The Celtic Warrior Sheamus next clashed with Mark Henry.  This match could have been a total disaster but turned out to be pretty decent, perhaps thanks to an excellent spot which saw Mark Henry driving Sheamus through the ringside barricade.  Ultimately Sheamus could not make it to the ring in order to beat the ten count and Henry won via countout.  I’m not personally a massive fan of countouts in wrestling but this one was done right and provided a finish to the match which damaged neither competitor.  Mark Henry is still a human wrecking ball who has yet to be stopped and Sheamus continues down the path of his face turn by showing his fighting spirit and gaining the sympathy and respect of the crowd as he desperately tried to make it back to the ring but was unable to do so.  I do not think we’ve seen the last of Mark Henry and Sheamus coming together but hopefully we won’t be subjected to anything resembling a long bout between the two.


Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett:
Daniel Brian was up against Wade Barrett in what could only be described as a grudge match.  It is interesting to recall that at last years SummerSlam it was Bryan who returned to assist team WWE in a losing effort against the invading team Nexus.  In a turn which I don’t think most people expected, Barrett who was a major heel at this time last year has fallen down the ladder several rungs to the point that it is now Daniel Bryan who holds the Money in the Bank briefcase.  If asked at this time last year I think more people would have put their money on Barrett being the man with a gaurenteed title shot.  Either way these two put on an excellent, though short, match against one another.
I had predicted this match to go to Bryan and have to admit some level of surprise to see Barrett go over.  Bryan should be being built toward his briefcase cash in at Wrestlemania next year, not buried by someone who is, at best, currently trapped within the mid-card.  I also don’t feel that they played up the angle of these two having a colored past together and frankly the only interest I had in this match was my interest in seeing Bryan wrestle.  Either way I don’t think the outcome of this match means much of anything in the grand scheme of things and perhaps now that we’re over the SummerSlam hump we’ll see Bryan start getting built up.
Beth Phoenix vs Kelly Kelly (Divas Title):


When I imagined this Divas title match I thought of several things.  First of all I thought of the massive weight on the shoulders of Beth Phoenix to carry this match and make it something worth watching.  Secondly I feared seeing someone with the poor abilities of Kelly Kelly attempting to look like she could successfully deliver offense and thirdly I hoped beyond hope to see Beth Phoenix capture the divas title and restore credibility to a division which is floundering at best.  Kelly surprised me in the sense that she performed more than her typical three or four moves, Beth sold for her in a mostly believable way although watching a stick figure battle an athletically sculpted woman always tests ones ability to accept it.  In the end, Beth took over and absolutely dominated and while setting Kelly up for the Glam Slam found herself caught in a roll-up which led to Kelly winning and retaining the title

Yes it was a good match, and yes I absolutely believe their will be a rematch in which Beth is going to take the title off of Kelly but I think the storyline could have worked better with Beth as the champion defending on the next PPV.  Perhaps they wanted to give us a feel good moment and stretch this feud out, and if handled properly they can avoid doing any damage to the credibility of the Glamazon.  Also, just as an added note, the idea was that Beth and Natalya are saying that the days of the pretty model-looking divas are over so perhaps someone can answer for me why Beth came out in what appeared to be a cocktail dress?  She looked gorgeous, as did Natalya at ringside, but I think her other ring gear probably would have worked a little better.  Especially considering that Kelly Kelly came out dressed as a candycane.  Either way, K2 is still your Divas Champion.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the title change hands sooner than the next PPV, however.

 Randy Orton vs Christian – No Holds Barred (WHC Title):

The World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and champion Christian was to be no holds barred.  A lot of times when it comes to matches like this there is a certain level of groaning that can be heard worldwide when they announce a stipulation like that in what is known as the PG era.  Not helping the matter was that this was yet another Orton / Christian match which we’ve been experiencing a whole hell of a lot lately.  Christian had an insurance policy, which everyone knew was going to be Edge, but surprisingly Edge turned on Christian before the match and cut an excellent promo on him leaving Christian screaming in anger moments before Orton made his entrance with a big grin.
I had supreme confidence in these two to pull off an excellent match and, that being said, they exceeded my expectations.  This was a masterfully planned, excellently executed (sorry Bret) match which did exactly what it needed to do:  it delivered.  Christian was in command in the early part with Orton fighting back here and there only to capture control towards the end.  We got to see some spots involving the Spanish announce table, kendo sticks, trash cans and two tables (including a superplex onto a table which was not set up but laying flat on the mat.)  Ultimately the final spot was Randy Orton catching Christian, who was leaping from the top rope, in an RKO on a the steel steps for the win.
This was a great match, and definitely in the top two that have taken place between these two guys.  The final spot involving the flying RKO on the steps not only looked amazing but painful.  Orton held the back of his head following that move for a few moments before making the cover and hopefully didn’t give himself another concussion.  That was one hell of a spot and definitely got the crowd to pop.  The RKO is a fun move to watch because you never know where it is coming from and though we’ve seen it done reversing top rope manuevers before we had not seen that in conjunction with the steps.  I saw a lot of angry twittering following this match as people wanted Christian to win but I really don’t know what there is to complain about.  Orton was winning this match, it was inevitable.  Smackdown is built around him and this feud needed to end, and when it did the title had to be on the guy who is going to carry the show.  Orton will now move on to feud with, probably, Mark Henry while Christian will remain the top heel of Smackdown and will work to build others, Sheamus for instance.  Keep your eyes open for the possibility of a Sheamus and Randy Orton vs Henry and Christian tag match in the future. John Cena vs CM Punk w/ Triple H (WWE Title):

Finally we’ve come to it, the match that SummerSlam had been almost entirely built around.  Triple H as the guest referee while WWE Champion CM Punk butted heads with WWE Champion John Cena.  This match was fun to watch though it was a notch below their previous clash at Money in the Bank but that is hard to live up to either way.  It was good back and forth, reversals, submissions and some great spots.  I can’t say there was ever a point at which one guy was completely in control for more than a minute or two.  The crowd began as somewhat divided, lots of booing for Cena when he entered followed by the battling “Let’s go Cena / Cena Sucks” chants.  However, the longer the match progressed, the more it seemed the crowd was getting firmly behind CM Punk.  At one point, Punk performed Randy Savage’s flying elbow which resulted in a large “Randy Savage” chant.  The divide of the match occurred when Punk landed a suicide dive outside the ring and both he and Cena lay in danger of a countout.  Triple H threw both men back into the ring where Cena landed an AA, Punk kicked out.  Cena got the STF on, Punk made it to the ropes and following a succession of GTS hits, Punk finally got the cover and the win.  This, however, is where the controversy began.

First of all, John Cena had his foot on the bottom rope.  Triple H either chose to ignore this or did not see it which immediately taints Punks title win and ignores the idea that we’d have an “undisputed” champion.  Following the match, Punk shook hands with Triple H who then headed up the ramp only to turn and witness Kevin Nash flying through the crowd, entering the ring and laying Punk flat on his back with the jacknife powerbomb.  Triple H looked shocked and made his way to the barricade to see where Nash was going while simultaneously Alberto Del Rio ran out with a referee, cashed in, delivered one kick to Punk’s head and won the WWE title in less than ten seconds.  Oddly they seemed to ignore their usual stipulation of making sure the defending champion is actually on his feet before the bell is rung.  So Del Rio leaves as Champion while Triple H is arguing with the referee.  So did this answer questions?  I suppose but now we have to wonder:  Was Triple H in on this?  Did he purposefully screw Cena and allow Punk to get crushed?  Who is Kevin Nash working for?  Who has a rematch clause?  I dread the possibility of a three way title match at next months PPV involving Punk, Cena and Del Rio.  No matter what, though, WWE successfully delivered an exciting, surprising and buzzworthy PPV which will have a lot of eyeballs focusing in on RAW tonight to see just what the hell is going on here.

In conclusion, SummerSlam was a worth while PPV to purchase and definitely paid out better than it charged.  The Punk / Cena / Triple H / ADR / Kevin Nash finale was done tastefully and leaves an opportunity for a really strong storyline to develop.  I think Kevin Nash, if used properly, can be a major asset here.  I can’t imagine being let down by this PPV and most of the negative talk I’ve personally witnessed has been as a result of fanboys or girls who don’t understand the concepts that were laid out for us tonight and just wanted to see their favorites win.  Hopefully they’ll be rewarded tonight on Raw and Friday on Smackdown.  I give this PPV a big thumbs up and highly recommend catching a replay.

SummerSlam 2011 Notes:  Jim Ross, though advertised, was in fact not on commentary and was replaced by Booker T who did an absolutely dreadful job.  Stephanie McMahon made her on screen return last night, seen talking to CM Punk as well as exiting Cena’s lockeroom and talking to her husband, Triple H.  Whether or not this is permanent or just a one shot deal remains to be seen.  The Anonymous GM podium was set up at ringside though never acknolwedged.  Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart took part in a funny promo with R-Truth.  Edge returned to cut a promo before walking back out, the crowd seemed happy to see him there.  Kevin Nash made his first on screen appearance for the WWE since his entry into the Royal Rumble seven months ago.  
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