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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Damien Sandow or Bray Wyatt... Who Had Better WWE Booking on RAW?
By Mr. Tito
Oct 29, 2013 - 7:53:22 PM
NOTE FROM TITO: Thank you very much for the many kind words regarding my 15 Year Anniversary Column. It's been an absolute honor to write for LordsofPain.net and anyone who reads my columns. Thank you very much!
NOTE #2: Special thanks to Bernard for the column idea!
So Hell in a Cell Pay Per View had a screwy finish with Shawn Michaels delivering Sweet Chin Music to Daniel Bryan to help Randy Orton win the WWE Title (11th World Title reign in 9 years, by the way). On Monday Night RAW last night, Daniel Bryan was able to get revenge on Shawn Michaels with the YES! Lock applied and Shawn tapping.
We've seen repeat matches between Orton and Bryan. In each case, Triple H has been involved and has cost Daniel Bryan the WWE Title repeatedly. One would think that with the repeat meddling by Triple H in Daniel Bryan's match that the Creative direction would turn the attention directly towards Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series 2013. It makes complete sense as Triple H has to pay for his repeat actions towards Bryan and denying him the WWE Title. Quite possibly, Triple H could do "what's right for business" and lose to Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series. Then, of course, Daniel Bryan could try one last time against Randy Orton at December's Pay Per View.
So did Daniel Bryan go directly after Triple H last night? Nope... Instead, he was attacked by Bray Wyatt & Family, a group of wrestlers who were in NXT and debuted with the official WWE roster on July 8th.
Also at Hell in a Cell, CM Punk was able to blow off his feud with Paul Heyman. After disposing of Ryback, CM Punk was finally able to deliver a beating to Heyman at the top of the cage. CM Punk and Heyman have been feuding hard since after WWE Payback 2013 when Paul Heyman revealed himself to behind the Brock Lesnar attack. The Brock Lesnar feud was intense and following SummerSlam, Punk had to deal with newer "Paul Heyman Guys" in Curtis Axel and Ryback. One would think that if the WWE were serious about moving Daniel Bryan to feud with NXT newcomer Bray Wyatt, that would leave an opening for CM Punk to directly challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Title, right?
Oh no... No WWE Title shot for CM Punk, as he too was attacked by Bray Wyatt & Family, a group of wrestlers who were in NXT and debuted with the offical WWE roster on July 8th.
Alberto Del Rio should consider himself a lucky man! He has a high profile match at Hell in a Cell 2013, loses, and yet he's able to escape an attack from Bray Wyatt & Family. Good for him.
Now, if you believe that this is a Bray Wyatt bashing column, YOU ARE WRONG. Actually take a deep breath, read my words as they come together as sentences, and then re-read if you don't understand. Again, this is NOT a Bray Wyatt bashing column. I have NOTHING against the guy. In fact, I have more respect for him than most because he's Mike Rotunda's kid and he was able to find a new lease in pro wrestling after that awful Husky Harris gimmick.
Again - This is NOT a Bray Wyatt bashing column. Let me repeat that: THIS IS NOT A BRAY WYATT BASHING COLUMN!
My issue is this, and this is my problem with WWE's developmental system for YEARS. Instead of debuting wrestlers and letting them start low and build themselves up to the top, the WWE debuts them and instantly pushes them as main eventers. I don't know if the WWE always remembers Brock Lesnar's 2002 WWE debut where it was impactful and he instantly got over, but the WWE is pushing their developmental wrestlers too fast and too soon. What's wrong with accumulating wins at the bottom, proving that you can be a midcard draw with an Intercontinental or United States Title, and then getting a Main Event shot when the fans dictate it? Some of the biggest stars were built that way and were great midcarders before they were pushed as Main Eventers. Simply put, they proved that they could draw at each level on the card and earned each spot.
It bears repeating... Steve Austin, Rock, Triple H, and John Cena were NOT instant successes. In fact, they had their own failures. Austin's Ringmaster gimmick was a joke and then when he changed to "Stone Cold", he started getting over in the midcard during 1996. Yet, the WWE chose not to give him a World Title until 1998. They made him run with the Intercontinental Title during 1997... Same thing with the Rock, although he proves my point as well on pushing too hard. They pushed Rock instantly out of the gate as a babyface Intercontinental Champion. He did not get over... He returns as a heel and they build him and build him and build him... He then got over as Intercontinental Champion, earned the fans trust, huge Main Eventer. They guy who last beat the Rock for the Intercontinental Title, Triple H, did the same thing. HHH was on the midcard for YEARS before he got his shot. Then, John Cena. Actually drew as a United States Champion during 2004 before winning his first WWE title in 2005.
What makes Bray Wyatt so special that he can push around the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? Or as I argued months ago, even worthy enough to beat Kane?
In contrast, you have Damien Sandow. Certainly, the WWE flirts with pushing this guy too fast. Yet, they have booked Sandow in a few matches to humble him. In spite of letting Damien Sandow win the World Heavyweight Title Money in the Bank 2013 match, which I've consistently argued was overpushing Sandow, the WWE has booked him to lose repeatedly to Cody Rhodes (his former partner) and lose a few times to Dolph Ziggler. WWE is flirting with Sandow getting pushed too fast yet he comes up short in matches. In fact, hard fought matches. In each of those matches, Sandow lost in a losing effort and that's despite being a heel.
Then, you had Monday... You have to make the best of the booking situation and Sandow should NOT have won Money in the Bank for 2013. He was not ready... But the WWE had him cash his Money in the Bank briefcase to start RAW following a Pay Per View against John Cena of all people. What an opportunity! And he made the most of it. Despite losing the match (to a one armed man, mind you), he put on a quality match against the company's top star. Simply put, he was put in a big spot to shine and he proved himself. That match against John Cena will create momentum for Sandow because fans know that he can hang with the company's best.
Reminds me of Sting during 1988 when he got a shot at NWA/WCW World Champion, Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions 1. Sting was a midcarder who was gaining some popularity and Flair was the established champion. They went to a 45 minute draw in a match that made Sting a big household name. 2 years later, Sting would become WCW's world champion. Steve Austin needed Bret Hart to legitimize him. Austin lost at Survivor Series 1996 but put on one heck of a match insomuch that a rematch at Wrestlemania 13 made sense to further establish Austin. Nobody complains that Sting and Steve Austin lost those matches... In fact, most point those matches as turning points in their careers. Time will tell whether or not Damien Sandow makes the most of this grand opportunity or not.
Once again, by the way, it's John Cena enhancing talent on the WWE roster. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Damien Sandow in recent years owe a big "THANKS" to John Cena. Cena is the company's top star yet he was willing to sell the offense of those 3 wrestlers and help tell a story to fans in the ring that Bryan, Punk, and Sandow are great. In the case of Punk and Bryan, both wrestlers had major momentum heading into John Cena and Cena not only made them stars with a 5-star effort but he had no problems losing cleanly to either wrestler. Cena can't Help it tHat tHe WWE Creative staff sabotaged them afterward. Sandow is not ready for the World Title but he can always try for it...
There is nothing wrong with any wrestler getting a World Title shot. The WWE is considered the best company possibly in the world for pro wrestler and thus most of the top wrestlers among North America should be in that promotion. To make the WWE, it's a honor for wrestlers. Thus, it can be assumed that most on the roster can at least compete for the WWE Title. It's the same way with the National Football League (NFL). To make the NFL, you have to be good or else you're playing Canadian football, in the Arena League, or unemployed. In the NFL, even the worst teams can compete against teams considered the best in the league. Take the Jacksonville Jaguars who were a 28 point underdog in Vegas against the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos. Yet, the Jaguars were able to compete for most of the game and only lose by 16. Arguably the worst team in the league, but the Jaguars kept the game at 14-12 at halftime.
That's the approach that the WWE should take with their up and coming wrestlers. Let them challenge and compete with the top stars but lose... WWE could push the mantra of On Any Given Monday..., but the point of the matches would be to see how the younger wrestlers can compete in the big spotlight. The younger wrestlers who are GOOD will put on a great match and earn the respect of the top star in the ring. The ones that don't will cause a bad match and give the WWE the easy realization that they aren't ready yet. Sandow was challenged to put on a good match with John Cena and he delivered. Fans will remember that match and thankfully for him, the Money in the Bank briefcase actually helps him because of the added knowledge of being the 2nd person ever to lose with the briefcase.
Now, Sandow can carry that momentum into the upper midcard where he'll be considered a credible wrestler. Why? He proved that he could hang with the likes of John Cena... Let Sandow start battling the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Miz, Cody Rhodes, and wrestlers like them in the upper midcard and let Sandow start racking up clean wins. With Curtis Axel hurt, it might not hurt to try Sandow's hand at a legitimate Intercontinental Title run. If Sandow draws legitimate reaction and gets over as an Intercontinental Champion, the WWE could then consider another World Title shot and even a run. It's all about momentum and Sandow now has it because of his good match in a losing effort against John Cena.
That is contrary to Bray Wyatt. Instead of enduring the midcard for a while like Sandow did and then flirt with the Main Event scene, the WWE attempts to push Bray Wyatt as a Main Event like wrestler from day 1. Now, instead of Daniel Bryan getting revenge against Triple H or CM Punk moving onto a WWE Title feud against Randy Orton (which perfectly headlines Survivor Series 2013), we'll probably get something stupid like CM Punk/Daniel Bryan vs. Wyatt & Family at Survivor Series 2013. Oh joy, just what I wanted to complement Big Show vs. Randy Orton at a Pay Per View that I'm NOT going to buy!
Punk and Bryan will probably do their best to get Bray Wyatt over. Wyatt now has world class opponents to work with and he should benefit... But it's like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are being punished or demoted for the WWE's weaker Pay Per View buyrates or ratings. Meanwhile, the proven ratings sinkhole Randy Orton (see Smackdown 2011) isn't being forced to feud with a NXT wrestler who debuted during July. No blame going towards his puppeteer, Triple H, who hasn't drawn squat as the authority figure of the WWE. Anytime you give the impression that Triple H just simply needs to trade the suits for trunks and instantly become the greatest wrestler on the roster, you have problems with the impressions given to fans of the current WWE roster.
Just too early for Bray Wyatt... And realize that a great entrance (which Wyatt does have) does not equate to a strong reaction in the ring. Many are gushing over Wyatt's entrance getting a big reaction as cause for this big push. I disagree. Bray Wyatt is unproven in a WWE ring. The reaction to his matches just isn't strong yet and ditto for his 2 family members. That usually happens when you've been around on the WWE roster just 5 months...
Worse yet for Bray Wyatt is if his phrase "the devil made me do it" is alluding to Vince McMahon pulling his strings. If he just proves to be a Vince McMahon stooge after all of that time and effort in selling his gimmick, we could be in a booking disaster. The Shield, for instance, feel neutered since they became McMahon/Triple H flunkies. They lost the edge that made the trio cool as their original purpose in the WWE was to be, well, anti-WWE. Now, they work for the establishment...
In a year from now, we'll see which take on booking works... With Damien Sandow, the bookers are more patient and allowing him to shine in the ring in a losing effort. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt isn't proving anything in the ring but the WWE booking staff is crafting storylines to tell you how dominant they are as wrestlers. History shows that Bray Wyatt's style of push runs out of steam rather quickly. Meanwhile, some of the greatest stars of this generation lost big matches before they went on to bigger and better things. I'll put my money on Damien Sandow because history is on my side.
And for those who think I'm "trolling" you once again on Bray Wyatt... Re-read the column. My criticisms are, again, on HOW he's booked and not the wrestler himself. WWE Creative has quite a history of pushing newer wrestlers too fast to the Main Event and/or the World Title. Just ask Randy Orton during 2004 about his 1 month World Title reign along with Jack Swagger, Miz, Sheamus, and even CM Punk/Daniel Bryan with their Money in the Bank briefcase wins when they weren't ready to be World Champions. They all can't be Brock Lesnar, who was a physical freak and grasped the business quicker than most... Some require years of seasoning, like other Ohio Valley Wrestling 2002 fellow class members John Cena and Batista. By 2005, 3 years later for both, they were ready to become World Champions.
Just a little patience... Yeah...
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
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