Brian and Steve talk WWE Raw from Monday night which was another lackluster show, Michael Strahan handing out hip tosses to The Miz and Titus O’Neil, the Survivor Series rematch of the Divas elimination match, the upcoming match between John Cena and Randy Orton at the TLC pay-per-view and if it will be a unification match, other possible matches on that show, what has happened in the WWE since the summer, Jake Roberts dream of buying TNA and more.
Before the Smackdown tapings take place, the WWE films “Main Event” that will air on ION Television tonight starting at 8 p.m. ET. The tapings took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is what took place on WWE Main Event.
- Tamina defeated Naomi in a lumberjill match. The Divas who are in the Survivor Series elimination match were all at ringside serving as the lumberjills.
- Alberto Del Rio defeated Santino Marella. An easy win for Del Rio, who had go away heat in Atlanta thus far.
- Fandango defeated Kofi Kingston. The Miz provided a quick distraction that led to Fandango getting the win. This concluded the Main Event taping.
Results were courtesy of ProWrestling.net.
Smackdown opened with Triple H again defending his recent actions to the fans, but took a curve when The Miz came and confronted him. I liked it. I thought Miz made the segment more interesting, and he held his own on the mic against Triple H. It also served as great storyline continuity from show-to-show. Give The Miz more stuff like this, and less MizTV time, and he’ll probably start to shine a little more. [Read more...]
The WWE taped tonight’s edition of Friday Night Smackdown on Tuesday from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can watch the show tonight starting at 8 PM ET on SyFy.
Here are the matches that took place on the show.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
- The Real Americans vs. The Prime Time Players
- Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
- WWE Divas Champion A.J. Lee vs. Cameron
- 3MB vs. The Great Khali and Santino Marella
- Randy Orton vs. The Miz
Hey internet, it’s time to give The Miz a break. Not that he doesn’t deserve the criticism, but he probably doesn’t deserve the non-stop nitpicking that happens every time MizTV comes on. He probably doesn’t deserve to be called out for using the figure-four leglock, an obviously corporate decision. And he probably doesn’t deserve to be made fun of for Real World anymore. [Read more...]
As the final show before this Sunday’s major Pay-Per-View event, story of the night should be SummerSlam feuds. Expect final build for Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow, the World Heavyweight Championship match, and The Shield. [Read more...]
His career arc up to that point included all the typical WWE milestones: after signing with the WWE in 2006 he did a stint in developmental before eventually working his way onto the main roster. By late 2008, he had collected a few mid-card titles (including the tag-team championship with CM Punk), and had shown that his athleticism and work-ethic were some of the best in the company. Hardcore and casual fans loved him. Plus, he had paid his dues.
When October of 2009 rolled around, Kingston had been in and out of the main event picture for most of the year. His brief run-ins with Edge and Chris Jericho made him seem like a star, and a lengthy United States title run further decorated his resume. He was only looking for that one rivalry to put him over the top.
Enter Randy Orton.
Orton was fresh off a WWE Championship reign. His heel-tactics had earned him the ire of the entire WWE Universe, and so a victory for the babyface Kingston would establish Kingston’s status as a main event superstar. Their rivalry was fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, that’s as far as it went. Kofi Kingston got his victory over Randy Orton, but it was a flukey win stuck in the middle of three Orton-dominated matches. Then Kingston went on to spend 2010 in mid-card hell. Despite a few highlight-worthy moments since, and a handful of great matches, his career has never truly recovered.
So what’s the real issue here? It seems WWE struggles with handling a sustainable build, and often fails to follow-through. Kingston undoubtedly has all the tools of a superstar, but he’s never been spotlighted long enough to create the buzz that follows other main event players. His rivalry with Orton should have been the launching pad to bigger and greater things. Instead, it was the high point of a single storyline. They had nothing serious planned for him once he lost to Orton.
Kingston’s not alone here. CM Punk captured the World Heavyweight Championship TWICE, and still had a hard time getting traction. In fact, he didn’t cement his place atop the roster until after his infamous ‘Pipe Bomb Promo’ and the ensuing rivalry with John Cena. That was when WWE Creative finally gave CM Punk both an angle he could sink his teeth into, and a storyline that kept him in the spotlight.
Fans often complain that if a young gun could just get that one victory, or grab a World Championship that one time, they’d be set. I argue that it’s less about the championship itself, or even the victory, and more about what takes place after.
Remember Zack Ryder? He got his shining moment, winning the United States Championship and celebrating with Punk and Bryan the next night on ‘Raw.’ Now he’s the jobber to the stars. What about Jack Swagger? He climbed the proverbial ladder and is billed as a “former World-Heavyweight Champion.” Today, his career can’t seem to find anything that clicks. Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania over two years ago, and he’s rarely even featured on PPV pre-shows anymore. The examples go on and on.
I’m not arguing all of these guys could, or even should, be headlining pay-per-views. But I think they’re all shining examples of WWE’s short-sightedness. Creative puts a wrestler out there, gives him some momentum, then tucks tail and runs because they can’t immediately sell merchandise like John Cena or Randy Orton. News flash, WWE: Those guys took years of build to become as popular as they are today. And unfortunately, giving a superstar a small push then immediately pulling them from TV for weeks does more to harm a superstar than help them.
As a fan, I want time to invest in a superstar, so I can genuinely care. Give me feuds that build to bigger and better things, and let me see an actual progression of character. I want surprise wins and heartbreaking losses. Take The Miz, for example. He was never supposed to be a WWE main-eventer, or even a real threat for TV time. However, when he split from John Morrison, the WWE writing team laid the groundwork for his rise to success. They spotlighted him on WWE television, gave him mid-card wins, and let his stock rise for a year. Then, in late 2010, he cashed in the Money in the Bank contract for his first WWE Championship reign.
But notice how things didn’t just stop there. In the subsequent months, they continued to put him in meaningful rivalries, eventually culminating in a Wrestlemania match against John Cena. After he reached the top, they let him stay. It was over a year later before they finally changed The Miz into a face, and it was at a time his popularity was starting to wane. It actually felt like a great refresh.
I think the WWE had the right concept with Ryback. They wanted him to be a beast, and so they let him decimate anybody on the roster. While his feud with CM Punk last year felt premature, it also felt plausible, if only because he looked like the kind of guy that could beat anybody in the company. Fans even started chanting along with him. But then, less than four months later, WWE changed its mind and decided to make Ryback a heel. A guy that was finally starting to get over in popularity was changed to an entirely different character. And, subsequently, his current feud with John Cena feels bland.
WWE is losing viewers on a weekly basis, and people are less interested in the product than ever. When former stars like The Rock or Brock Lesnar have to show up and sell your pay-per-views, something isn’t right with the way you’re handling talent.
Kofi Kingston might never become a world champion, and Zack Ryder might never main-event again. Those are things I’ve learned to accept. But something I can’t accept is a mediocre, warmed-over product, when the WWE has all the right pieces to be so much more.
Opening Segment – Miz TV w/ Fandango: While I’m not normally a huge fan of the Miz TV segments, I thought this one did a good job of helping build towards the Intercontinental Championship match later. There were a few great throwaway lines by Miz here – “Your ego is the only thing more annoying than your name” and calling Fandango a “bag of skittles” both stood out. Furthermore, Wade Barrett coming out and interrupting made sense (because of what happened on Raw), and it seemed like a great way to kick-off an Intercontinental Championship feud. Barrett also got a few cheers for attacking Fandango. Could a possible face turn be in his future? I think it could be refreshing for his career if handled correctly.
Miz vs Wade Barret for the IC Championship ends in DQ when Fandango Interferes: This was a soft “good” for me. While the back-and-forth between Miz and Barrett was fun for the 30 seconds it lasted, Fandango’s dancing just made everything too distracting from the in-ring product. However, I liked it because it furthered the storyline between the three men, and It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good mid-card championship feud.
Daniel Bryan def. Jack Swagger: These two weren’t given much time to work, but they still put together a fun match. I loved the ending here, with Swagger in the “no-lock” almost reaching the ropes and still tapping out. I also thought the announcers did a good job of building up how important this match was to Bryan and regaining his confidence by proving he isn’t the weak-link.
Great ending, with Swagger in the “no-lock” almost reaching the ropes but still tapping out.. Short match, broken up by a commercial break, but I like the story it tells about Bryan. He’s trying to prove himself and build back up his psyche. Nice storytelling here for Bryan. Too bad Swagger is not in a free-fall…again.
Damien Sandow Segment: This guy is money on the mic. He speaks down the audience, and carries that air of superiority better than almost any other heel on the roster. I loved the “Call Washington! I’ve just found the problem in the education system!” directed at Matt Striker and his substitute-teaching background. Sheamus came out, which was actually a fun surprise. I think he works really well in this “correcting the heel” type-role (as he did with Henry). Is it too much to ask for a feud between these two? Sandow looked smart by escaping the Brogue kick, but looked really dumb afterwards when Striker landed on him.
Jericho def. Big Show via count-out: OK match. Slow, plodding pace at first, but they picked it up towards the end with a good number of reversals. Entertaining with a good small guy vs. big guy dynamic in play. On the other hand, it felt like they left this open for more. Is this a rivalry anybody really wants to see?
The Shield def. Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Kofi Kingston: While this format feels a little old, and the match from Monday night was better, these guys all put out a pretty good effort here. Glad The Shield won again, and I’m always happy to see Kofi Kingston wrestle with the big boys.
Team Hell No backstage segment: This one almost ended up as a “good” for me, simply because I like the fact that this backstage segment helped build up a story. However, I fear that WWE is handling this one all wrong. The focus is too much on Bryan being crazy and Kane being the sympathetic one. I still think there’s money to be made with this team and it’s revenge on The Shield. I also believe Bryan has a lot more to offer as a face, and Kane likewise as a heel, especially if they ever pull the trigger on a rivalry between these two.
Curtis Axel def. Sin Cara: For starters, WHY is Sin Cara still allowed to wrestle with the lights down like that? What makes him special now? This would have been much more impressive had Axel come out and dominated here. Instead, he looks like just another mid-carder here who barely pulls of a win against Sin Cara, a guy we rarely see on TV anymore. Is this what being a “Paul Heyman Guy” does for you? Disappointing.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston for the U.S. Championship ends in DQ: This match kicked off with a fun, fast pace. These two work very well together. However, after about three minutes, The Shield came out to interfere (so why did Ambrose tell them to stay back at the beginning?), followed by Orton and Sheamus to save the day.
This didn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t Kane and Bryan be interfering? Also, I thought Orton and Sheamus had moved on past their feud with The Shield? Furthermore, Teddy Long had to come out and make it a “three-on-three” match, as though we haven’t seen enough of those recently. Actually, he said, “This show isn’t going to end like that!” (in reference to the brawl). Of course it isn’t, Teddy, there’s still about 20 minutes left in the show. But I guess that’s the new format for Smackdown – let everybody interfere, and make your main even a “surprise” tag-team matchup. It just feels stale.
Fake Audience Noises: The crowd doesn’t go from dead silence, to maximum boo/cheer level, back to dead silence like that.
Fandango on Commentary: Not to knock his skills here, but he sounds like a phone-sex operator.
ECU is Josh Matthews favorite university: As an NC State graduate (known rival of the ECU Pirates), this displeases me greatly.