I'm not going to lie; these two have developed a nice little feud over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, there's not going to be anything nice to say about their match tomorrow night. If WWE is wise, they will keep this one short, and have Henry walk out the victor. However, hopefully they're wise enough to keep the feud going as I can't imagine either man facing anyone else on the roster at SummerSlam next month. This won't be pretty, and I shudder at the thought of the two competing in a rematch, but I'm confident Henry will steal a win tomorrow, either by count-out or disqualification, continuing his monster push.
Winner: Mark Henry
WWE Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly (c.) vs. Brie Bella
I really don't think either Bella twin has ever defeated Kelly. Not even once. Therefore, I have even less motive to care about this match. On one hand, it would be silly to take the belt off Kelly so soon. On the other hand, who would Kelly feud with next? Beth Phoenix is never on television, Maryse is confined to NXT, and Kelly just squashed Melina on RAW. For some reason, The Bella Twins are the only credible heel divas on the current roster. Take a moment to digest that. It could go either way, but Kelly will probably [undeservedly] retain.
Winner, and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly
Smackdown! Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Wade Barrett vs. Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Heath Slater vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus vs. Kane
You know Smackdown!'s midcard is in shambles when both Slater and Gabriel are competing on PPV for a chance to win a world title in the future. Anyways, we might as well start by ruling out the participants one by one. Kane won the match last year and had his final run as world champ so he's out. Slater and Gabriel have no business sniffing a world title so they're out. Sheamus is probably the only man in the match who doesn't need a MitB briefcase to enter the main-event so he's out. Sin Cara is far too green to carry around a MitB briefcase, so count him out as well. That leaves us with three men - Bryan, Rhodes, and Barrett. Bryan is in dire need of a character change, but since Smackdown! is so heel-heavy, he'll probably get a push as a face. Also, I just don't see him winning it this Sunday, so he's out. Wade Barrett was poised to become the WWE Champion months ago, but he's fallen so far from grace it would be almost unrealistic for him to win tomorrow (then again, so was Swagger's win last year). I think the only safe bet is Cody Rhodes, who's on the verge of breaking out all the same. Winning MitB may be that last push Rhodes needs to reach the next level, and I think it will happen. He's my pick to win it all.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. Alex Riley vs. R-Truth vs. Evan Bourne vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger
This one definitely has more star-power than Smackdown!'s MitB, but will it deliver? I guess we'll find out tomorrow. Right away, let's write off last year's MitB winners, because they won't win it two years in a row. So long, Miz and Swagger. If John Cena retains the WWE Championship (more on that in a bit), then Del Rio is virtually a lock to face Cena for the title at SummerSlam. Del Rio doesn't need MitB. Alex Riley is in the middle of a big push on RAW, but no way are WWE going to give him the briefcase this soon, so cross him out. Evan Bourne has also been built up strongly in recent weeks, but I doubt he'll ever be a world champion, so scratch him off. Rey Mysterio may not even be around for next year's MitB PPV, plus he can challenge for the world title on his own, so he's out as well. Thus, we are left with Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. Truth obviously has more main-event experience than Kofi, but winning the MitB briefcase would be the perfect thing to finally put Kofi in the main-event. I'm not confident in this pick at all, but what the hell. Kofi for the win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c.) vs. Christian
This feud has surprisingly been one of the best things going on Smackdown!, but I agree that if Christian doesn't win the world title by the end of the SummerSlam, his two-day reign as champ and his heel turn will be worth nothing. I think there's a good chance Christian wins the world title tomorrow, but drops it to Orton in their match at SummerSlam. Or, Christian uses the fixed stipulation to his advantage and gets crowned champion, only to lose to the winner of Smackdown!'s MitB, thus giving him an even shorter title reign than the first. However, I'm going to play it safe and stick with Orton retaining, and Christian getting one last chance at SummerSlam, where he finally wins the belt. Sorry, peeps.
Winner, and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton
WWE Championship: John Cena (c.) vs. CM Punk
Like it or not, THIS is the match that most people are ordering the event to see. Don't get me wrong; the two MitB matches and Christian/Orton are intriguing, but the world is going to be watching these two men's every move tomorrow night. Now, there are plenty of different things that can happen, which include - from least likely to most probably - the following:
- A Cena heel turn; Punk face turn
- Punk wins, only to lose to the winner of RAW's MitB
- Punk wins through the help of Vince McMahon, Colt Cabana, and/or Luke Gallows
- Cena wins clean
- The Rock shows up and turns heel by screwing Cena the match
- Punk wins via "Chicago Screwjob" and allies with Vince McMahon
Quite a range of different scenarios. In all likelihood, any of those things could take place tomorrow night. Or WWE could play it safe and simply have punk job to Cena and receive the hometown goodbye. But I don't think it's that simple. With ratings slowly sinking, and stars disappearing, WWE must feel the urgency to shake things up and I'm sure they will strike while the iron is hot (for a change). Besides, it's not like Cena's never been "fired" before, so the outcome is far from set in stone. Let's just see if WWE have the balls to try something different tomorrow night.
Winner, and NEW WWE Champion: CM Punk
2. Day 335
PRETTY. ****ING. AMAZING!
Honestly, from top to bottom, WWE put on one hell of a show last night in Chicago. Of the six matches that took place, there were few negatives. Kelly Kelly and Brie Bella tried, but nobody in the crowd gave two shits about their title match (trust me, Eve's presence at ringside did not help matters). Mark Henry vs. Big Show was a lot better than I expected it to be, with both men moving quicker than usual, and even told a story with Big Show's injured leg. The two Money in the Bank ladder matches were good, and I liked how each told a different story. Smackdown!'s participants showed off their athleticism and each person tried to destroy the other men in the match; RAW's ladder match was all about creativity and trying to retrieve the briefcase as fast as possible. As for Christian vs. Orton, they put on another excellent match, and although many dislike the finish, I didn't mind it. The whole "spitting in Orton's face" played into the storyline (as well as brought Orton's anger issues back into the play) , Christian won back the title, and Orton looked crazy-strong in defeat.
Had these five matches taken place at any other Pay-Per-View, I'm sure it would have been a solid-good event. However, it was the main-event between CM Punk and John Cena that turned Money in the Bank into a classic, unforgettable PPV. Last night's WWE Championship match had everything needed to main-event a PPV: a hot crowd, two big names, a world title, a hometown hero, great build-up, and of course, some great wrestling. Towards the end of the match, when Michael Cole mentioned that Punk and Cena had been competing for over thirty minutes, I was shocked. The time seemed to fly by the entire time. Either that, or me and my friends were so engrossed in the action we didn't want it to end.
When the end did come, it was nothing short of mind-blowing. In fact, I'm going on record and saying the last five-ten minutes of the PPV were some of the most compelling television I've ever seen my entire life. From CM Punk kicking out of two back-to-back Attitude Adjustments, to Vince McMahon and Johnny Ace trying to create a "Chicago Screwjob", to Punk thwarting Del Rio and barely escaping the arena with the WWE Championship, I was in wrestling heaven. WWE could have gone with the same - yet safe - Cena win, but instead, they listened to the fans and "shook things up" by giving Punk the win. Kudos to them.
There is one thing I'm concerned about, though. WWE put all this effort into making Money in the Bank feel like a truly unique PPV (apparently the atmosphere backstage was similar to that of Wrestlemania), but how the hell can they make the fans care about SummerSlam? I know that the "biggest party of the summer" is still a month away, and more people are looking forward to the fallout on tonight's episode of RAW, but as of right now, I cannot think of a single way WWE can make SummerSlam feel superior to MitB. Even if the top two matches are Punk vs. Cena and Orton vs. Christian, why should the fans be interested to see that happen again. I really doubt Punk and Cena can put on a better match that they did last night (which is a compliment, because their match was easily Match of the Year), and Christian/Orton can only do so much to switch up their matches. So unless someone like Triple H or Stone Cold Steve Austin shows up on tonight or next week's RAW to face Punk at SummerSlam, I really don't think the August PPV will be successful.
But whatever, that's me being pessimistic about the future. Right now, it's a good time to be an Internet Wrestling fan. CM Punk is the WWE Champion (and has a sweet new shirt that SCREAMS "buy-me"), Christian is the World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan has a Money in the Bank briefcase, and so does Alberto Del Rio. If Zack Ryder shows up on RAW tonight and defeats Dolph Ziggler for the United States championship, then everything will truly be awesome in the world of WWE.
If you ever needed a reason to tune into RAW, well, I just gave you plenty. WWE, make your move.
3. Day 336
So…we’re approximately 46 hours removed from last Monday’s RAW, and after reading a lot of people’s comments, blogs, and opinions on the show, I feel it’s time to share what I thought.
It sucked. Badly.
Now, from a wrestling stand-point, it was a good show. I mean, including the abomination otherwise known as the 14-Diva tag match (even though only two of them were even tagged in!), the fans were treated to a grand total of six decent matches. Furthermore, the show put much emphasis on the WWE Championship, since every man involved in the tournament was fighting his heart out to win the vacant title. Finally, the show closed with another epic segment, this one involving John Cena, Vince McMahon, and a returning Triple H.
Anyone who did not watch the show in it’s entirety would probably assume it was an entertaining two hours and seven minutes. Sadly, that’s where they are mistaken. Sure, having a tournament to crown a new champion in one night is not a brand new concept, except that usually takes place on three-hour shows, not two-hours. Therefore, the crowd was forced watch the same eight guys compete all night long. What’s worse, they had to wait until the very end of the show to see John Cena, and did not even get a direct reference to the man who dominated WWE programming the last few weeks – CM Punk.
For those keeping in track, RAW went one hour and forty-seven minutes without featuring either of the two men involved in the Match of the Year from Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV. Basically, two of WWE’s hottest superstars were M.I.A. for almost the entire episode. OF COURSE the crowd was dead most of the evening. OF COURSE it felt like something was missing. It would have been foolish to expect CM Punk to show up the night after his contract “expired”, but to have WWE ignore his absence and say “the show goes on” is even stupider. One of the major reasons behind MitB and Punk winning – and leaving – with the WWE Championship was to regenerate interest in the product and give fans a strong reason to tune into RAW. When the fans did tune in, WWE did not deliver on their promise, and went in a whole different direction. That’s the problem.
For those of you praising last Monday’s RAW, tell me something. Other than a cliff-hanger ending, the potential for another “power struggle”, and The Miz gaining back some much needed credibility, what did the show accomplish? No other storylines were advanced (or started) whatsoever, which is horrible since SummerSlam is only three weeks away. There was no new WWE Champion crowned last night, despite the announcers hyping it all evening long. Also, there’s no guarantee that either Miz OR Mysterio will win the title next week – maybe Punk or Cena or HHH will get involved and nullify the win. That would only make Monday’s tournament an even bigger waste of time. In my opinion, RAW was nothing but filler, and lots of it.
To say I’m disappointed in the WWE is a major under-statement. MitB set the bar so high, but RAW failed to capitalize on the momentum. They showed the fans the path to heaven, but wouldn’t let them cross. They promised them a five-course meal, but ran out of food after the third dish. In other words, WWE positioned themselves perfectly for something big to happen, but for some reason, decided to play it safe and go with the same old song and dance.
People are freaking out because Vince McMahon was “fired” by his son-in-law on national television. Big woop. Unless CM Punk is somehow involved in the storyline, I don’t have a reason to care.
4. Day 337
Long before CM Punk ever grabbed a microphone and made history by cutting one of the most shocking promos of all-time, I was already a fan of his work. His babyface run in ECW - although criticized by many - was highly entertaining, as he had awesome feuds with John Morrison, Kane, and Elijah Burke. After his first Money in the Bank title win, which saw him cash in on an unexpecting Edge, was one of my first-ever mark-out moments as a wrestling fan. After winning MitB an unprecedented second year in a row, he went on to have a star-making feud with Jeff Hardy and his heel turn cemented him as a main-eventer.
All this time, I was still one of his biggest supporters. At Breaking Point 2009, I was in attendance and one of the only people who cheered when Undertaker "tapped out" to The Anaconda Vise. I didn't watch the following month's Hell In A Cell PPV because I had a feeling Punk would drop the title, and I couldn't stomach seeing my favorite wrestler job to an old man. Eventually, Zack Ryder burst onto the scene as a singles wrestler on ECW and he became my new idol, but Punk was always up there as well. Through the highs and the lows of his career, I've always stood by The Straight-Edge Superstar. That's partly why I loved last Sunday's PPV so damn much, and also why I feel this video is nothing short of epic:
It's clips like this that remind me why I've been such a huge CM Punk fan all these years. Just when you think Punk and WWE won't cross paths until a random episode of RAW, BOOM!, he shows up and "invades", the press conference. Now, of course this wasn't real, it was simply a creative way of playing up the story that Punk is no longer a WWE employee who happens to have their world title, but if anyone can make it feel legit, it's Punk. Everything from the way Punk was dressed to his "smarkish" comments about Ryder and Stephanie, it came across as a real battle of words between the two men.
One thing WWE should take notice of in this video is how over Punk was, and how quickly the fans in attendance turned on Triple H. I understand the crowd was probably infested with members of the Internet Wrestling Community, but it was pretty clear Punk had them in the palm of his hand, and everything he said got a huge reaction. Kudos to WWE for allowing Punk to do this. Kudos to Triple H for staying in character and playing his role perfectly. But most of all, kudos to the WWE Champion for once again showing how powerful a microphone (or megaphone) can be.
Naturally, this video has people speculating one of two things. Either Punk will be making his return to RAW sooner than expected, and he will not allow for a "new" WWE champion to be crowned in his absence. The other theory is that a program with Triple H is awaiting him upon his return. Despite being with the WWE for more than five years, Punk and HHH have barely crossed paths. In fact, the only time I can recall them being in the ring together was when Team DX took on Team Rated-RKO at Survivor Series, and both were part of the winning team. Besides that one PPV, Punk and HHH have barely acknowledged each other's presence on television (not counting Punk's recent promos, obviously).
It's funny. A few days ago, I predicted the only way SummerSlam could step out of the huge shadow cast by last Sunday's MitB PPV was by having a fresh new match-up take place, or the return of a legend. Well, if we're lucky, we may be getting both if Punk returns to RAW next Monday and challenges Triple H to a match at SummerSlam. Not only would that be something different, but both marks and smarks would be intrigued in that match-up and order the PPV. I know I would order SummerSlam for that match alone.
But once again, the ball has found itself in WWE's court. Do they go the predictable way and have Miz/Cena, Mysterio/Cena, or Del Rio/Cena at SummerSlam? Or do they "swerve" the fans and bring back Punk to work the PPV and defend his WWE Championship? I for one am pulling for the latter.
5. Day 338
It was a rough week for WWE's blue brand. Despite a strong showing at the Money in the Bank PPV, which saw new stars made in Daniel Bryan and Justin Gabriel, as well as Christian finally winning back the world title from Randy Orton, they also suffered their share of losses. The first was the announcement of Sin Cara's suspension. When Sheamus power-bombed Cara through a ladder last Sunday, many people thought it was just a sick spot. It was later revealed to be a way to write Cara off television for the foreseeable future.
But that's not all. After his Street Fight with Orton, Kane was attacked by Mark Henry after the match. Again, many people thought it was just a way to advance the Kane/Henry/Big Show storyline, but WWE revealed on their website that Kane would be out of action for three months.
So let's recap here. Following the 2011 Draft, Smackdown! was already short on faces, with Orton, Christian, Kane, Sin Cara and Daniel Bryan being the brand's most popular superstars. What has happened since April? Christian turned heel, Cara is suspended indefinitely, and Kane is out of action for at least three months. That leaves Smackdown! with Orton, Bryan, Ezekiel Jackson, and...Justin Gabriel??? as the brand's top faces.
I don't know about you, but something's got to give. You can't have only three faces as draws (especially when two of them aren't proven yet). I know there's a good possibility of Sheamus turning face very soon, but that doesn't aid the heel side either. As much as I like Christian and Henry, I don't want to see them teaming in the main-event every week until next year's draft. That's why I suggest WWE do something they have never done before and hold a mini, yet important, Mid-Summer Draft.
I'm sure a lot of people are against this idea, but think about it. RAW completely raped Smackdown! in this year's draft. Receiving the likes of Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, and Jack Swagger and only sending Randy Orton in return is not a fair deal. In fact, RAW has so much star potential in their ranks that guys like Drew McIntyre, Zack Ryder, and even United States Champion Dolph Ziggler are forced to compete on Superstars and miss pay-Per-Views because there is simply not enough room on RAW.
Since the scale is already tipped so unfairly in RAW's favour, why not even it up? I'm not saying RAW should trade Del Rio, John Morrison, and Evan Bourne only to get Tyson Kidd and Trent Barretta in return, but something has to be done, and fast. Just this past weekend, The Miz and Rey Mysterio competed at Smackdown! live events. WWE claimed it was to "preview their upcoming title match on RAW", but it was really because Smackdown! desperately needs more star power. Besides, if RAW is able to go one weekend's worth of live events without huge names like Mysterio and Miz on the card, then I'm pretty sure they can go the rest of the year minus a few names.
Who would I send to Smackdown!? Easy - Mysterio, Morrison, and McIntyre, or MMM if you will. Why? Because among other things, they seemed to shine the brightest on Friday nights rather than Mondays. Rey Mysterio is actually tolerable on Smackdown!, and with Sin Cara suspended, as well as Del Rio being pushed to the moon on RAW, there is a need for a Hispanic draw on Fridays. Morrison is over because of his in-ring ability, and not his mic skills, so if sent back to Smackdown!, he would have a much better chance of competing for the world title. Finally, McIntyre was on a roll before being drafted to RAW. Hell, his final Smackdown! feud was with former world heavyweight champion, Edge. I'm sure he could re-establish himself on Smackdown! in no time.
The truth is, someone needs to help Smackdown!. Criticize Orton all you want, but he cannot carry a brand by himself, that's for sure. I'm a huge Christian, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, etc. fan as well, but none of them are quite on Orton's level. Putting the world title back on Christian was a good move, but WWE have to go even further if they want to save the blue brand.
Is Smackdown! in trouble? Yes. But it's not like the show is beyond saving. Unless Chris Jericho suddenly makes his return to Smackdown! before SummerSlam, I think a Mid-Summer Draft is the way to go.
6. Day 339
When I woke up this morning, I originally planned to write about how much I loved last night's show, especially after last week's trainwreck episode. However, there's always stuff going on in the world of wrestling, so much so that I want to discuss as many as I can before something else comes up. Therefore, today's column will be similar to "random thoughts", or in point-form if you will, so let's start by talking about Monday Night RAW, shall we?
-For the life of me, I cannot comprehend how people loved last week's episode, yet are bashing last night's show. To quote a certain WWE superstar, "Are you serious, bro?". RAW had everything that last week's show did not: entertaining and compelling match-ups, actual build-up to SummerSlam, CM Punk (more on him a bit later), as well as a returning Jim Ross. In fact, considering that John Cena won back the "WWE Championship", I'd even go as far as to say that last week's RAW was basically a waste of time (bar the HHH/McMahon angle). Miz vs. Mysterio and Cena vs. Mysterio were two of the year's better TV matches, and made every match from last week seem like an after-thought. Throw in a decent match between Kofi and Del Rio, Zack Ryder making his RAW re-debut, as well as a spectacular final hour, and you have yourself a damn good show.
-Speaking of Ryder, it's a wonderful time to be a member of the Zack Pack. For the first time in 2011, Ryder came out with entrance music, an authentic t-shirt, and won a squash match. Sure, it was against Michael Cole, but what better way to get someone over as a face than to have them beat up a heat magnet like Cole? I was not expecting Ryder to be announced as Cole's opponent, as it took me ten seconds after his music hit to come to terms with reality, and I believe the crowd was in a similar daze as well. However, despite the "match" not even lasting half a minute, the crowd chanted along to Ryder's "Woo Woo Woo" fist pump, and even started a "Let's Go Ryder" chant. Was last night the start of the Ryder Revolution on RAW? You better believe it.
-He may not have won the "WWE Championship" on RAW, but The Miz is not complaining about being selected as the number one pick for the PWI 500. Miz joins previous winners such as Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and John Cena in a very prestigious group. Miz is so thrilled about his accomplishment, that he or one of his fans hacked Chris Jericho's Twitter account today and tweeted the news non-stop (it was actually pretty funny). Anyways, the question being debated is whether Miz deserves that top spot. I believe he does, as he had a solid 2010, winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, retaining the United States Championship until September, and eventually defeating Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in November. He followed that up by having a surprisingly good feud with Jerry Lawler, successfully defending the WWE Championship against John Cena in the main-event of Wrestlemania 27, and headlining two more PPVs. He may have cooled off a bit, but for a number of months, The Miz was the hottest commodity in the WWE. No one else came close to matching his achievements, not Cena, not Orton - no one.
-Holy mother of coinicidences! After Randy Orton's two-month reign as World Heavyweight Champion, which saw the ratings for Smackdown! plummet week after week, WWE decided to take a chance and put the belt back around Christian's waist at Money in the Bank. Not only that, but Christian was booked strong in the first post-MitB edition of Smackdown!, and kept his title intact. A few days later, it is reported that last Friday's Smackdown! (the one where Christian came and left as world champion) pulled it's highest rating in over two months. Many people claim that the fifty-plus minutes of wrestling played a factor in the rating being so high, but you cannot overlook the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Christian is a better draw as champion than Randy Orton currently is. Of course, we'll have to wait and see how well this week's show does to prove that theory correct, but even if the rating does take another hit, at least the Peeps can rejoice about Captain Charisma officially being a two-time world champion.
-Hustle and Morpheus were right - the IWC is full of hyprocrites. Hundreds of people complained and moaned when CM Punk did not make an appearance on RAW last week, and buried the show mercilessly (I bashed the show because it was boring and uneventful, not because of Punk's absence). Now, WWE decides to give the fans what they want - or what they say they want - and have Punk interact with John Cena to end RAW. Instead of people praising the company for striking the iron while it's hot, they're criticizing WWE for brining Punk back too early. Again, ARE YOU SERIOUS??. I admit the angle might have been better played out had they held off Punk's return until SummerSlam, but it made perfect sense for Punk to "crash the party". After all, Punk won the WWE Championship fair and square, and it is still in his posession. Why should he sit home and watch WWE move on by crowning a replacement champion? Besides, it's not like he was re-signed or anything. Punk just showed up (with "new" entrance music), got in the ring, and posed with the WWE title. He never said he was here to stay, or implied it was a full-time return. But that doesn't stop people from bashing WWE, bashing Punk, bashing the storyline, etc. Honestly, I think Punk's "return" was well-done, and capped off an excellent episode of RAW.
That's all I've got for today, broskis. Hopefully I haven't ruffled too many feathers out there! Like I said, I really enjoyed last night's show, but if you didn't, I'd love to know why not. Your opinion matters as much as mine does.
7. Day 340
Today's question comes from frequent LOP poster, Darrell. Rather than quote him word for word, let's just say he wants to know why I think WWE would be better off keeping the roster on two separate shows, when he feels the opposite way.
Well, I have plenty of reasons for believing the brand split is a good, effective thing. You may not agree with any (or all) of them, but here they are:
For starters, if RAW and Smackdown! were to become one, you could expect some MAJOR roster cuts. I'd estimate a good 15-25% of the low/midcard talents would be released. I'm not talking about nobodies like Primo or Tyler Reks, either. Young talents like Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, Drew McIntyre, etc. could all be shoved out the door not because they weren't talented enough, not because they weren't over enough, but because there wasn't any room for them on either show. Having one brand means the top stars usually appear on both shows. Well, that's great, but how are we supposed to be introduced to new talent if we're always seeing the same faces, night in and night out? People have "Cena Nuff", yet they're okay with having him appear on both shows every week? I don't get it.
There would only be one Intercontinental or United States Champion, and that's not a good thing. Why? Because of poor booking, the majority of WWE's current stars are regarded as midcard talent, through no fault of their own. Guys like Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler who were once world champion, guys like Wade Barrett and John Morrison who recently main-evented Pay-Per-Views; they're now considered midcarders. By having only one midcard championship, you're not pushing superstars to the world title quicker; you're giving more people a lot less things to do.
Say, for example, CM Punk is the WWE Champion, and he is currently feuding with Randy Orton. Let's also say that Ezekiel Jackson is the Intercontinental/U.S. Champion, and he is feuding with R-Truth. That means only four guys at a given time are in the mix for a singles championship. What is the rest of the roster supposed to do? Sit around and wait for their turn? Form make-shift tag teams and chase the tag titles? Feud on Twitter? I would love for WWE to develop significant, non-title feuds for the rest of the roster, but we're in 2011. For some reason, unless it's Wrestlemania season, the writers tend to focus all their attention on the title matches, and everything else is an after-thought. I suppose it's more an issue of WWE creative being lazy, but it's a major issue that would occur if the brands do merge in the near future.
Still not convinced? What about WWE giving away PPV matches for free? If the brand extension ends, the company would have no choice but to give us fresh match-ups on a regular basis to keep things from going "stale". People complained about WWE giving away Cena vs. Mysterio for free just this past Monday, but many more "dream matches" would be given away every week. Should Punk and Orton be engaged in a three-month rivalry, WWE won't book Punk & a partner vs. Orton & a partner every RAW and Samckdown! for twelve weeks straight. Nope, they would have to switch things up by giving away matches like Punk vs. R-Truth, Orton vs. Del Rio, etc. A merged roster may improve the ratings, but how many people will order PPVs knowing they've already seen the card's line-up on past editions of RAW or Smackdown!?
Look, I'm not debating whether ending the brand extension is profitable or not, because it certainly would be. OF COURSE fans would be more inclined to attend a WWE event where John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, and The Miz are all scheduled to appear than one which only advertises Cena and Miz. OF COURSE their would probably be a ratings boost on both shows, because the fans no longer have to play "brand warfare" and tune into the program which features their favorite superstar. OF COURSE the company would stand to make a larger profit and add more credibility to their titles by having only one roster.
But from a fan's perspective, do you really want to see that happen? People blame the brand split and the creation of two world titles for younger superstars like Swagger, Ziggler, and even The Miz being pushed to the main-event "before their time". I say, so what? If WWE had never created two world championships, chances are we never would have seen Eddie Guerrero become WWE Champion. John Bradshaw Layfield may never have been born. Rey Mysterio may NEVER have been a world champion. Hell, CM Punk may never have gotten the opportunity to win the world title four different times. Think about that before praising the idea of a brand merge.
I for one do not want to see John Cena on RAW AND Smackdown!. I do not want to see a lot of my favorite underused superstars lose their jobs because WWE could not find them any television time. And I definitely don't want the WWE to give unproven superstars the chance to win a title and run with it, because that would be silly, right? Only veterans are allowed near a midcard or WWE Championship because that's what works best, right? From a business standpoint maybe, but from a fan's view? I'll pass.
Friends, I am sure the WWE roster will one day become one again. However, I hope that day is far, far away.
Song Of The Day:
Burning Question: I have something to ask you, my readers. I've posted hundreds of columns about professional wrestling, but I rarely talk about anything else. Therefore, I was wondering if I wrote a BLOG every now and then talking about anything but wrestling, would you read it? I could discuss relationships, movies, stories at work, video games, working out - anything that comes to mind. It sounds like fun, but I would love to hear your thoughts first before I make a fool out of myself.
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