FACT or FICTION
The Nobody Gonna Break My Stride Edition
NOTE FROM MORPHEUS: Well, we're finally getting this thing back on track. I had lined up a panel before WrestleMania, and then the whole quake/tsunami shit went down, and these guys were left hanging. Better late than never, I always say, and so after a new round of topics were laid out, here we are with the much-anticipated return of the infamous FOF. Bring It.
Topic 1 (from Al Laiman): R-Truth's over the top gimmick will earn him a main event push beyond the current Cena Pay-Per-View match. FACT or FICTION.
ChrisBear: FICTION. Most people will already know my distain for Killings, that being said this gimmick DOES have me interested, and it seems that many more people are jumping on this bandwagon. Will the gimmick continue? If he doesn’t get released, sure it will. But the question is if he will become a constant man eventer after the next PPV. No chance, he’s simply too bad in the ring for WWE to display at the highest level, and to have this flippy floppy shit seem a legit threat to the mighty John Cena is laughable. He may well get a push, but in a roster consisting of Del Rio, CM Punk, Miz and McIntyre, he’s out of his depth.
Glacier: Aside from John Cena, who else in the main event can Truth feud with? He already feuded with Mysterio, and Morrison won't be back for a month or two. And a feud with Morrison can hardly be called a main event feud. If there were more than 2 main event faces on the roster, this may lean towards fact, but right now I see Truth going back down to the midcard to possibly feud for the United States Championship after his feud with Cena. I gotta go with FICTION here.
Hustle: I'm going to go with FACT on this one. First things first, working with Cena, win or lose, elevates your stock like your company discovered the cure for cancer. This is going to put the spotlight on Truth like he's never seen before, and while I'm still not exactly a fan of his, he is a veteran and more than capable of handling the pressure that comes along with that spotlight. I think he gets more than one Cena match with this, and will then go on to remain in the main event scene for at least the next few months, depending on how the crowd responds. For now, they're eating his act up, but that can easily change after a month or two. I don't think Truth ends up winning the WWE Title or anything, but this still works out well for him and his fans.
Morpheus: This isn't an easy or straightforward one to answer. I think that there is definitely the potential to lead to a future main event level niche for Killings, but whether or not that comes to pass all rests in his hands right now. I am interested in the CONCEPT of what they are doing with him, but so far his execution of that concept has left a bit to be desired. I think after his match with Cena, in which he damn sure won't win the title, he will end up embroiled with JoMo for a bit to finish out their ongoing storyline. If he can elevate his game and show his chops against Cena and then JoMo, I would have to say that this could be a definitive FACT. However, as I said, the ball is really in his court, so it could just as easily swing the other way.
Romeo: Hmm... this one is a little tough. As of now, I can count four potential archnemeses for Cena to battle with on RAW. There's the Miz, who is currently busy with former protege Alex Riley (whom we'll get to later, courtesy of my topic); CM Punk, who is dawdling in the midcard in a feud he already had around this time last year; Alberto del Rio, whose character is also getting shafted by the writers of RAW; and of course, R-Truth himself, Cena's current opponent. The thing with Miz, Punk and Alberto del Rio is that they've already established themselves as believable, menacing heels, while R-Truth is really still in the process of finding his own footing.
So here's the deal. I think it's a FACT that R-Truth does get a main event push. But not now, not immediately after Capitol Punishment. He'll get it eventually; after he manages to iron out the kinks of his current character and figure out what he's really trying to do. And that's going to take a little seasoning. The Mysterio feud was too short, and Truth needs people like Rey, Kofi and John Morrison when he returns to help perfect his current heel character. After that's done, it's then he'll get that main event push.
Al Laiman: Some people have really enjoyed R-Truth's heel turn, and appreciate the running success that he's had since doing so. Others, like myself, are enjoying it because of the unintentional comedy that appears every time the man is given a live microphone. Regardless of what it is that you find enjoyable about it, there's one thing I'm sure on which we can all agree: this is the most watchable that he's been since... well, ever.
With that in mind, and the fact that some of his promos have gone lengths that would make 2000 Triple H's Factgime opening promos seem short, I'm going with FACT, simply because I don't believe they'd devote that much time to one character for a single feud. So strap yourselves in, Truth-haters, it's gonna be a long summer.
Topic 2 (from ChrisBear): WWE handled the Kharma pregnancy in the correct way. FACT or FICTION.
Glacier: I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, they turned an unstoppable force into a human in a matter of mere minutes by having her break down and cry in the middle of the ring. Then having her come out the next week and spill her heart out, only to be bullied. There would be no conceivable way to turn her back into an unstoppable monster. On the other hand, she was so unstoppable that there would be no way to justify her leaving for a year, especially without giving an explanation. I guess we will have to wait and see when she comes back next year. For now, I'll say FACT purely because they had to give a reason for her absence.
Hustle: FICTION. I've said it in my columns, but I'll say it again here.. "humanizing" Kharma didn't turn out to be anywhere near as disastrous as I thought it would be, which is great, but all of the stuff involving The Bella Twins and their bullying of Kharma and her size just didn't work for me. It comes across as too phony, especially with both Brie and Nikki in the anti-bullying commercials the company is being forced to air. Kids are supposed to take that shit seriously now? Also, with Kharma having to be out for what could very well amount to an entire year is going to destroy this program. What if one of the Bellas is injured when she returns? What if they don't even work for the company anymore? We have John Cena VS The Rock at WrestleMania 28, and even that doesn't get mentioned on television all the time, so what makes anyone think the Kharma VS Bella Twins feud will get a whole lot of airtime between now and Kharma's return? The average wrestling fan has a short attention span, and their memory isn't much better. Besides, with the way ratings are dropping, a large percentage of the people watching now won't even be around for Kharma's return and the big "payoff".
Morpheus: Up to a certain point, this was FACT. I think revealing the pregnancy was a good idea, but the way they went about the whole thing was not. Her speech about always wanting to be a mother could have legitimately been an inspirational thing for the female viewership and been a positive thing overall. However, the ridiculous nervous breakdown angle, followed by the fatty bashing in the midst of an anti-bullying campaign just turned the whole thing sour. Unfortunately, that leads me to say FICTION for this one.
Romeo: This is an interesting situation because the Kharma pregnancy kind of left Vince between a rock and a hard place. He's left to choose his path - does he try to salvage kayfabe, which is dead, and risk insulting the intelligence of smarks, or does he acknowledge what's really happening and destroy the mystique of the Kharma character? We already know what choice he made, and it's my opinion that it wasn't really the correct way (FICTION), but it's something I really don't blame them for doing.
The thing with Kharma is that she's so beloved in the IWC that they honestly wouldn't mind if they found another reason to write Kharma out. It was a risk that did not need to be taken at all. Give the people a kayfabe reason, let them find out the truth, and watch them eagerly anticipate Kharma's return as it draws nearer. There's nothing inherently wrong with admitting the truth either, but, again, it was an unnecessary risk. It would be fine if the writers can portray her upon her return as some sort of a wild animal with newfound vicious maternal instincts... but I can't give the RAW writers that much credit.
Al Laiman: The segment the week before anybody knew anything pissed off a lot of people, myself included. It didn't seem to make any sense, and to be honest, it still doesn't to me. The part of it they did do well was having Kharma be open and honest about it, and I think that earned her a great deal of respect from the crowd. They seemed to identify with her, and when she comes back, I'm sure she'll be able to pick up where she left off.
However, I have to go with FICTION, ONLY for the fact that they had the Bella Twins act like complete and total bullies while simultaneously appearing in the anti-bullying campaign. "Don't be a bully, it's a bad thing, but watch us call a pregnant girl fat." As George Carlin once said, "that is what's known as being STUNNINGLY and embarrassingly full of shit." The heat for her return angle is great, provided the Bella Twins are still employed at that time, but that part of it changes from the correct way to the hypocritical way.
ChrisBear: For a few weeks I was interested in the Diva division, I didn’t use it as time to go for a piss, I watched knowing/hoping that the artist formerly known as Awesome Kong would appear near the end of the match and destroy all the divas in sight, leaving a trail of silicon and shaved pussy in her path. I wanted her to take them all down at the same time... Then it happened, she was surrounded by most of the divas, about to fight them all, and what happened? She knelt down and cried, and then a week later gave us a speech supposed to warm our hearts. Fuck that, this is FICTION. Instantly they made the most fearsome diva in history look vulnerable. The only way they can rectify this is to have one diva DOMINATE the division, then in twelve months have Kharma return and beat seven shades of shit out of her. Yes, Ok she is having a baby, and it’s probably a good thing they have done this... ‘Girl power’ and all that, but I don’t care, I wanted to see some beat downs, and now I can’t.
Topic 3 (from Glacier): The fact that John Cena wasn't turned heel late last year in the Nexus storyline, and again in his storyline with The Rock proves that he will forever be a face. FACT or FICTION.
Hustle: Damn.. to say I'm a little biased here would be an understatement, but I'm going to say FICTION. It's certainly not going to happen between now and WrestleMania, that's for sure, but I think the company wants to do it, but is merely afraid to. With most everyone else on the roster, you can have them turn in just about any way you want. With John Cena, however, it needs to be special. It has the potential to change the course of the wrestling business for the next few years, and if it's done incorrectly, they'll look like complete tools when they have to turn him back in a few weeks. It needs to be something big. Something that is built up to for a while. WrestleMania itself would be a great opportunity to do so, and might just be the last "best" opportunity for it to happen. I'm just saying.
Morpheus: I'll keep this one short and sweet. People never thought Hogan would ever be a heel after Hulkamania. FICTION
Romeo: First of all, for the record, this is a stupid question. Who came up with this shi- oh, I see.
The way I see it, it's ridiculous FICTION. Because the way I see it, Cena's on-screen career path will traverse a course similar to Hulk Hogan's. He'll finally turn heel (probably due to his own off-screen volition) when his star is faded within a few years, when his last line of defense - the kids he caters to - finally turn on him and he cannot move as much merchandise anymore. Many people have already said that this business is a cycle. Just like Hogan, Cena won't be a face forever.
Al Laiman: FICTION, plain and simple. They turned The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin heel, it can happen for John Cena if another face gets more popular than he is. Clearly by the Smackdown ratings, Blandy Orton and his never-changing facial expression is not that face. It could be awhile, but he will be walking into One Night Stand 2006 times eighty thousand for Wrestlemania 28. Anything can happen, as eventually another golden boy will come along.
ChrisBear: People, when will you understand that Cena is ALREADY a heel? He is a heel to the over 16’s, whereas the Rock is the face for the over 16’s. We are seeing something different, no longer do we need a Heel vs. Face feud, we have a Kiddies vs. Adults (and Hustle) feud. The point is they don’t need to make Cena a heel when half of every arena hates him anyway. He makes more money than anyone on the roster for WWE, why change that? Would you? NO. With Cena they have the best of both worlds, a cash-cow, and someone who is already both a face AND heel. Oh yeah, FACTION.
Glacier: FACT. Vince has had 2 great times to pull the trigger on a John Cena heel turn, and he chickened out each time. Cena is getting stale as a face, and soon will have feuded with every heel on the roster. A heel turn would bring about a fresh change of events where Cena could feud with the likes of Rey Mysterio and Undertaker, among others. Cena is one of WWE's longest running faces, clocking in at 8 years this November. I hope I'm wrong here, and Cena does turn heel sometime in the future, but with all the teases we have had with nothing coming to fruition, I just don't see them turning him heel.
Topic 4 (from Hustle): We have officially seen the last match of The Undertaker's storied career. FACT or FICTION.
Morpheus: I've said on numerous occasions that the Undertaker will retire and disappear from view once that counter hits 20-0. It's such a perfect round number that I think even Taker is eyeing that as his curtain call. He's banged up and not getting any younger, but he's shown he can still amaze and stun when the time is right. I honestly would not be too surprised if we don't see him again until the build to WrestleMania, but I firmly believe that, come hell or high water, we will see him there, even if it's just one last time. FICTION.
Romeo: While I believe that nowadays, every time Taker steps into the ring there's a legitimate chance he's going to kill himself with all the shit he does (outside dive, anyone?), I don't think even Taker himself would like the fact that his very last match was versus Triple H. So, yeah, FICTION. I think Taker himself is still looking for the perfect opponent to cap his career with, and unless he is forced to retire like Edge was, he's going to keep greasing up those broken-down joints and going out there every six months. That, and the legend of WrestleMania retirements (of Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels) has been built to the point that everyone expects his last match to be at a WrestleMania. Shame it couldn't work out the same for Edge.
Al Laiman: Do I think we've seen most of it? Yes, I do. Will he wrestle one more match at Wrestlemania to go 20-0 or put someone over on his way out? I have no doubt. Taker isn't the greatest guy at putting people over, but when he really wants to, he will. I personally think no matter how hurt he is, he's either going to go out 20-0 at Wrestlemania, or he's gonna give someone the ultimate rub. I'll go FICTION, but only by about one match.
ChrisBear: FICTION. He’ll have one more match in him, most likely at Wrestlemania, and he’ll most likely win, get his big send off and get a job behind the scenes. HHH will undoubtedly hire him in some capacity. Anyway isn’t there an Undertaker film being made? It would be stupid of them not to have him around when they release the film. We haven’t seen the last of ‘Taker, as much as I think we should have, this is FICTION.
Glacier: FICTION. Undertaker has made a habit the last few years of taking virtually the whole year off to rest and heal his body for the biggest stage of them all. I see this year being no different. Taker will take the rest of the year off and return early next year to set up his next Wrestlemania feud. This will go on long after all of us are gone.
Hustle: It scares me a little to say this, but I'm going to say FACT. Not necessarily because I'm a huge Undertaker fan or anything, but because it really isn't going to feel 100% like WrestleMania without him. There will be plenty of reasons to watch the event in the coming years, but without the huge draw that is "The Streak", something will be missing. I really hope I'm wrong. Taker's body is obviously breaking down, and because of that, I don't want to see him return until the "Road To WrestleMania" like we saw this year, but I do want him back. One more year. A chance for a proper "goodbye". I just don't think we'll get a chance to have that happen.
Topic 5 (from Morpheus): This online beef between Hulk Hogan and Warrior is merely a work to build up to a TNA debut for the Ultimate One. FACT or FICTION.
Romeo: I'd just like to state for the record that there are no fucks I can give for Hogan, Warrior, TNA, and this entire Hogan/Warrior online beef. Both men are crazy, but from what I know of Warrior, I think he's too radical and anti-establishment to even consider going to TNA, so this is FICTION. I'd like to think that Warrior is just doing this for shits and giggles, he'll get nothing substantial from this, and it won't really dent Hogan's armor or anything.
Al Laiman: FACT. If TNA hasn't figured out that old WCW/WWE names don't draw for their company, let them shoot themselves in the foot by bringing in the Dealer of Destrucity. That match was terrible in 1998, let's see how unbelievably awful it will be in 2011 when neither of them have any business being in a wrestling ring anymore. Maybe Hogan will have Russo put a fake hip on a pole for the match or something. If you're going to go for the low, take the Tommy Wiseau route and run with it. Who knows, intentionally low won't win them any fans on the internet, but it might be entertaining, in a roadkill or sodomy video kind of way.
ChrisBear: It does seem like something TNA would do but the deciding factor in this one, for me at least is the fact that warrior is just bat-shit insane, so I’m going with FICTION. Actually, looking at this some more I’m quite interested to know what ‘dirt’ the insane one has, if any. I reckon Hulk boned Brooke. I’ll be pretty pissed off if it is a storyline, and they reveal it on TNA, mostly because I’ll miss it and secondly it’ll no doubt suck.
Glacier: I'll kill myself if this is fact. I'm going with FICTION because I like living. There is no need at all for these two 50 year olds to have 2 separate feuds that over 20 years apart.
Hustle: FICTION. I do think this will end up in an appearance from Warrior on TNA programming, and perhaps even to a.. *sigh*.. match between the two. However, I don't think it's all a ruse. I think there really is some deep-rooted animosity in both of their hearts, and that's probably something that won't go away, because both men seem stubborn as all hell. You'd think the recent passing of Randy Savage, as well as the rest of their "brothers" through the years who are no longer with us, would help them to realize that this is the only life we get, and harboring hatred and all those grudges is only wasting time and preventing them of having an opportunity to truly be happy, but it doesn't seem like that's the case. It's sad watching them go back-and-forth on Twitter like they are. Hulk Hogan is going to be 58 this August. Warrior is going to be 52 very soon, and could very well already be 52 by the time this goes public. Yet, they're acting like teenage girls, bickering about things that aren't even important anymore. Sad.
Morpheus: While it is not outside the realm of possibility for TNA to try to set something up in this manner, the fact is, in my opinion, Hogan's egocentric comments finally pushed Warrior over the edge and he's retaliating like only he can. It's strange to me, because in all honesty Warrior has been very eloquent and clear in everything he's said, unlike the promos he used to deliver in character. He has a very convincing speaking style, and I can easily see why he's worked the motivational/political speaker circuit. It's just unfortunate that the mother fucker is hand-dipped in a bucket of caramel crazy. That said, I think Warrior could give a rats ass about TNA, if he even knows it exists. This beef is more than legit, and Hogan is going to find himself punked out in an unprecedentedly epic fashion. And I will love every second of it. FICTION.
Topic 6 (from Romeo): The Miz/A-Ri program will elevate both men satisfactorily - Miz as even more of an established main-eventer, and Riley as a legitimate competitor to anyone. FACT or FICTION.
Al Laiman: A few weeks ago, I would've laughed at the idea of Alex Riley being anything more than a member of the Future Endeavors club. While the night of his turn, you could see it coming a mile away, surprisingly enough it got the fans behind him, and seems to be carrying through rather well. I don't know if the Miz will be any more of an established main-eventer, as they've really taken away from him as of late, but Riley will at least be a legitimate competitor for a brand in dire need of faces. I don't think he'll be in the world title match at Wrestlemania any time soon, but he could be a threat for a midcard gold run. I'll go with FACT, because a good strong win from the Miz might get him back in contention.
ChrisBear: The question itself is how I would sum up this feud, the Miz is already an established top guy in my eyes so this is all about A-Ri. I like him, he has the potential to be a top face on a brand lacking in faces, more importantly though it seems the fans are onside, and he’s charismatic enough keep them there. I doubt very much he’ll win, but if he went down fighting it’d certainly get him some more fans.
The best thing about Riley though, his entrance music.
NOTE FROM MORPHEUS: Yeah, ChrisBear never sent a FACT or FICTION with his answer to this one. I could have asked him, but figured public humiliation would be funnier. Go Bear! Love you, kitten.
Glacier: FACT. This is exactly what WWE needs to do. When a main eventer is not in a title picture, use him to elevate midcard talent to be bred for the main event. This feud with Miz is going to do wonders for A-Ri, hopefully putting him in a midcard title picture, and possibly setting him up for a main event run by next year's Summerslam.
Hustle: As of right now, I'd say FICTION, but in the end, I do think the company will turn it around eventually and make it a FACT. I've made no secret that I'm disappointed with how weak The Miz has looked recently. He's a huge part of the company's future, and they're making him look like less than a midcarder recently. Don't get me wrong.. it's great that the guy who is ripping my nickname off (A-Hy) is getting a chance to be a star. They're giving him the ball, and so far, through two weeks, he's running with it like Frank Gore. However, the key to the entire thing is how The Miz can finally respond. He can't just keep getting his ass kicked every single week, as much as the live crowd would appreciate that. It's fine for the short-term, but long-term, it would be a horrible decision. Eventually, though, the writers will get it right. I mean.. they can't fuck this up too badly, can they?
Morpheus: A lot of this answer hinges on the word "satisfactorily." That leaves things very open to interpretation and becomes subjective rather than objective. I think some of the booking so far has left me scratching my head, Riley's build has been going along nicely, even if Miz is suffering a bit for it. However, Miz has proven himself to be a valuable commodity in the public relations department and is a good public face for the company, so because of that I have faith that they will turn things around and make this all worthwhile. Hopefully that faith will prove to be well-founded, and I will be able to look back at this in the coming months and find that I was correct in choosing to say FACT.
Romeo: This is mine, so my answer is FACT. I believe this is a plan by Miz backstage to elevate A-Ri, and what better timing, too - talk about a brand that needs an injection of fresh blood so badly (SmackDown has it beat in that department by a long shot) - and pairing him up with one of the company's main heat magnets in the Miz results in a venture that shouldn't, in theory, fail. The same thing worked with Daniel Bryan, as a months-long program with the Miz successfully got him on the ground running; the only problem was that the same momentum was not carried on by the powers that be backstage. If Vince and the writers are willing to learn from their mistakes (and we know their history with that), then A-Ri could get considerably better treatment with only half the talent Bryan has.
And that about does it for this month’s edition of Fact or Fiction. A big thanks to everyone involved, and another big thank you to those of you who took the time to read it. Agree? Disagree? Don't give two shits? If you have any thoughts, feel free to send them our way at the email addresses below, or be lazy and (ab)use the Facebook Comment option even further below. In the meantime, Stay Metal, and I’ll catch all you non-gender-specific fuckers at a future juncture.