Badseed's Bottomline #422
The State of Wrestling Today
Hey yo! It’s been a long time, but I have been keeping tabs on wrestling and since I am in a bit of a lull at the office right now, I decided to put some of my thoughts on paper and discuss the good and bad of the changes that have occurred in recent weeks.
The WWE Draft has created an even playing field for both Raw and Smackdown and while I love that, I must admit to being thoroughly disappointed in the lack of effort made by the WWE to push its ECW brand.
ECW has basically fallen apart. There are some positive aspects of the show. For now, I believe they still have this working relationship with Smackdown, so fans get to see talent on both shows, but I believe that may change in the future, possibly for the better if that relationship changes to one with Raw. Remember, Teddy Long showed up on Raw that one time. It may have had nothing to do with that show’s GM role and everything to do with Long’s grudge with Vickie Guerrero and his decision to sever ties with that program. That would be a good thing considering how much talent Raw has and never fully utilizes.
But let’s keep the subject on ECW for a moment. Since Vince McMahon won the title from Bobby Lashley over a year ago, that championship has not meant much in the company’s eyes. Lashley won the belt back, but was immediately drafted to Raw, creating a void that was supposed to be filled by Chris Benoit. However, we all know what happened there and John Morrison won the title. Big mistake. Morrison beat CM Punk for the title. Punk was not a major headliner at the time and since Morrison never beat anyone of note, the belt became nothing more than a hyped up Intercontinental title. Sure, fans got great matches between Punk and Morrison, but Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage stole Wrestlemania III, but they were still fighting over the secondary title. Punk won the belt, but lost it to Chavo Guerrero, another wrestler who has never gotten close to winning a World title in the past. Suddenly, viewers were having déjà vu to a time when A-Train was awarded the IC title because he was loyal to the company. Chavo lost the belt to Kane and the WWE had a chance to add some real luster to the belt, considering that Kane has been a solid main event/upper mid-card star who doesn’t need to win matches to remain popular with the fans. A feud with Big Show was a smart idea, but rather than lose the belt to someone who had once given the title some true meaning, Kane lost it to Mark Henry, who once tried to mess around with a transvestite and watch Mae Young give birth to a hand. The ECW title means so little that when CM Punk wins the world title on Raw, it’s as if it is his first world title reign, despite it technically being considered his second. WWE should not openly acknowledge how little the ECW title means unless they remove its world title status.
ECW should be a AAA league with FCW acting as a rookie division. FCW wrestlers should first move to ECW before even being considered for the big two. Raw and Smackdown stars should be allowed to come and go to as they please, because they are acting as trainers, giving new talent real experience during short term angles that serve to keep a star busy when there is nothing that month for him to do. It also allows major talent an opportunity to give back while refreshing their batteries for a major feud. Wrestlers like Kofi Kingston should not be elevated to either brand without at least a year of experience under his belt and should by no means be given a title right off the bat. Wrestlers like Deuce and Domino, the Highlanders, Cryme Tyme, and Jesse and Festus would have benefited greatly from having a little more time to hone their craft, albeit on television. And a true tag-team division could have made ECW standout as Raw and Smackdown phase the importance of such a division on their rosters. A pairing of Snitsky and Mike Knox would have actually made sense, too.
What ECW can do is push new talent. It’s time that Elijah Burke is allowed to really run with his Black Pope gimmick. Given time, you can team him with Ron “The Truth” Killings and D Lo Brown and create a new “race” faction similar to the old Nation gimmick and have them feud with John Cena and Cryme Tyme, who are actually a perfect fit considering their good natured child-friendly acts. Yes, for some reason, when Cryme Tyme steals, something about it seems family friendly. Go figure. A Ron “The Truth” Killings feud with Cena makes sense, but needs to be seasoned. Starting out with a six-man battle and gradually working it into a singles angle will work much in the way it did for HHH and The Rock; a feud that actually started as HHH vs. Owen Hart.
Chris Harris is someone who needs to start in ECW, too. But he is someone with enough experience that he could be pushed right over to Smackdown and make an immediate impact. Too bad they got rid of Trevor Murdoch, although Lance Cade would actually make a better partner for Harris. Cade is finally getting the Raw push he deserves, but as a lackey to Chris Jericho. I hope that after Jericho’s feud with HBK is over, they really push the Cade-HBK angle and not waste a real opportunity to create a new heel star. This will keep HBK out of the title mix and still keep things interesting. What WWE should have done was kept Spanky on Raw and really push Cade vs. Spanky on the undercard leading to an HBK-Cade feud. Spanky is another HBK school alum. WWE writers need to educate themselves.
Raw is really fresh right now. HHH is not holding anyone back and they have a real interesting mix going on. What they did with CM Punk, besides the stroke of genius in having him use Edge’s own techniques against him, was a rather intelligent move to freshen up the title picture. However, they need to keep the title around his waist for the time being. CM Punk needs to feud with wrestlers like Kane, JBL and Chris Jericho to get himself over. Legitimate wins over all three are not too far fetched and will actually lead some to believe he has a shot against Batista. Save the match with Batista for Survivor Series. Then, when Batista wins the title, Punk’s reign doesn’t look transitional, allowing Punk to remain a dominant entity on Raw.
Here’s my own idea for Batista’s reign. Keep him face until he fights Cena at the December PPV. Have Randy Orton return and cost Cena his title match right from the very beginning with an RKO on his way to the ring. Have Randy Orton and Batista confront one another and then have Rey Mysterio inserted in the match. They shake hands and as the match moves to a close, have Orton come down again, teasing tension between he and Batista before the Animal turns on Mysterio and the two former Evolution partners beat him down. Have some tag-team matches between Mysterio and Cena against Orton and Batista all leading up to the Royal Rumble where the new Evolution puts out a bounty on Cena, forcing him to truly overcome 29 other superstars to win the match and a shot at Batista during Wrestlemania. That’s how you use your main event talent.
Over on Smackdown, you have an interesting dynamic with the greatest heel going right now, Edge, battling the greatest heel ever, HHH, who is now a face. They really hotshot this angle, though, because while it makes sense and doesn’t seem rushed, it would have been better served for a Wrestlemania showdown. Edge should have had to overcome a showdown with Mr. Kennedy, who remembers how Edge stole his title shot last year, Jeff Hardy and a returning Undertaker, while HHH battles Big Daddy V, the Great Khali, Umaga and the Big Show. WWE has to slowly build up Carlito, MVP, and Shelton Benjamin into title contenders. With a smaller roster of stars...it’s going to be an easier task to accomplish. Pay attention to MVP. He’s your breakout star in all this and I think a Ken Kennedy vs. MVP feud is one that they should push for the future. That’s the Rock vs. Austin feud, as is Cena vs. Batista. Don’t give it to them right away.
It’s also time to bring back the cruiserweights. Forget Rey Mysterio. He’s done with that. But Jamie Knoble should not be on Raw. Gregory Helms is perfect to lead the charge. Jimmy Wang Yang is amazing. Evan Bourne. Nunzio. Funaki. Shannon Moore. Bring back Paul London. Brian Kendrick. Chavo Guerrero. Why not have Matt Hardy come back and relive the Version 1 era? What else is there for him to do on ECW? That was a bad idea. They should have drafted one more star with him to make it work. A tag feud with Miz and Morrison would have really heated up ECW. Oh well. The WWE needs something to freshen things up. All the matches look the same. A great cruiserweight match is a break from the norm and should be taken seriously again.
Over in TNA, they are doing everything right. They allow angles to marinate. Their only problem is, they rush things in the ring. It’s like they teased Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles for so long and they did a great job having it explode, but then they went right into a match between the two and the angle feels over already despite there still being some fire left. Booker T vs. Robert Roode lasted forever, but then when it was over, they were teaming as quickly as they were feuding, without reason. There should have been some tension between the two, at first. No matter what, Roode did punch Booker T’s wife and last I heard, they will still happily married. So, what gives? Sometimes, an attack occurs on the screen and they just rush backstage or to a commercial right away. Let people take something from what just occurred. When you rush to a commercial, it appears the angle is not that important. Give some pause to the moment. But otherwise, what an amazing job they are doing with keeping everyone in the mix. You have Booker T vs. Samoa Joe, but you still keep Kevin Nash lingering in the background while Booker T helps Team 3D against AJ Styles, Christian and Rhino. They are using Angle the right way to give his title quest a break. Sonjay Dutt vs. Jay Lethal and the World X Cup are amazing spectacles that almost make viewers forget the X Division title has not been defended in some time. The tag-team titles are still important and the women are given much more intriguing roles than they are in the WWE. What would Vince McMahon do with Awesome Kong. He would ruin that gimmick. TNA actually has feuds in the women’s division that have nothing to do with the women’s title. Amazing concept. The WWE tried it and then stopped. If people continued to give TNA a chance, they would see that there is a superior product needing one more element that would really get them over the top.
Anyways, that’s my take on the wrestling industry these days. I hope to write more in the future. Until next time, that’s the Bottomline, because Badseed said so. Peace
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