1. Day 1 - How To Make Three Hours Of RAW Actually Enjoyable
My Two Centsss - No More Miztakes
By Super Chrisss
Aug 10, 2012 - 2:41:01 PM
2. Day 2 - No More Miztakes
I've seen last night's episode of RAW 1002 get some pretty negative reviews over the world wide web. Many people are trashing the show, citing the main-event of John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan as the only saving grace. Personally, I didn't hate the show as much as I should have, mainly because we got a lot of signs of promise for the future of RAW. And no, I'm not talking about endless replays, which still annoying as hell, was toned down a bit last night. More specifically, I enjoyed the strong emphasis on WWE's midcard division this week. Was the booking perfect? No. Were the matches long and epic? No. Did the crowd seem to care? For the most part, no. But Rome wasn't built in a day, folks. There is still hope for the future of wrestling on Monday nights.
Let me ask you a question. Last month, when RAW was only two hours long, what were the chances of seeing the following matches all take place on the same episode:
-Ryback vs. Reks & Hawkins
-Kelly Kelly vs. Eve
-Prime Time Players vs. Primo & Epico
-Damien Sandow vs. Brodus Clay
-The Miz vs. Kane
When you factor in matches and appearances from top stars such as John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, Triple H, etc., I somehow doubt we would have seen more than two of the above matches take place. Whether you enjoyed watching any of those contests is not the issue - you have to applaud WWE for taking the time to build up their midcard and not make the show revolve around the same ten people.
Is it a perfect formula? Of course not. While the first divas match to place on RAW in months didn't involve the divas champion whatsoever makes no sense, nor does a match featuring the Intercontinental Champion versus a guy not in the IC title hunt, at least WWE is trying to fill up time the right way. Tell me, would you rather watch a tag team match featuring two young teams in Young & O'Neil vs. Primo & Epico or a dozen Tout videos? Would you rather watch two upcoming stars in Sandow and Clay or sit through Brock Lesnar breaking Triple H's arm an additional five times?
The key to fixing RAW is simple: USE THE DAMN ROSTER! Obviously, even with three hours, WWE can't book every one of their superstars and divas in a match or segment, but now is the time to use more of them. As Hustle pointed out in his Running Diary, the crowd was dead for large portions of the show, but that's because it featured a lot of talent who's TV appearances have been minimal in recent months. Reks, Hawkins, Alex Riley, Primo, Epico - these are guys who are featured on RAW once in a blue moon. Therefore, it's normal for the crowd to not give a fuck about them. But that can change over time. Several months ago, no one gave a shit about Heath Slater. Now, after being on RAW week after week, he is over with the crowd, despite still being a jobber. WWE can make their fans care about anyone if they really try (unless their name is Alberto Del Rio).
One of WWE's biggest problems, besides the social media whoreage which needs to stop ASAP, is they have no idea how to book their talent. They don't know what to do with mega-stars like CM Punk, and they have no idea what to do with midcarders. If they can fix that (mainly by canning Stephanie McMahon as head of Creative and giving the department a complete overhaul) they can do wonders with three hours of RAW. The tag team division can become relevant again (I'd argue it's halfway there, by the way), the midcard champions can become credible again (either merge the U.S. and IC titles or keep the champions on separate shows), and maybe even the divas could become watchable (although that will never happen with Kelly Kelly around, she came back WAY too soon). Furthermore, WWE could build some feuds that don't revolve around a world title (like they are doing with Daniel Bryan and Kane, and to a lesser extent, Clay and Sandow). There's an endless amount of possibilities of what can be accomplished with an extra hour of RAW.
But in addition to reducing the amount of Twitter plugs (do the superstars' Twitter handles really need to be featured when previewing a match?) and shutting the fuck up about Tout every once in a while, WWE should also choose who they put on TV more carefully. Why they continue pushing guys like The Big Show and Alberto Del Rio, who very few people care about, and putting guys like Santino and Ryder on Superstars (who are two of the more over faces on the roster) is beyond me. I'm sorry, but neither Show or Del Rio deserve to be in a world title match at one of the year's biggest Pay-Per-Views. Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio may not be popular among the IWC, but at least they get huge pops whenever they're in the arena. Yet, neither guy has a SummerSlam match yet. WWE claim they listen to their fans, and the fans want Santino, Mysterio, Orton, and Ryder - they don't want Del Rio or Big Show. It's not rocket science.
I'm going to remain optimistic about RAW going three hours. Last night's show was already an improvement from the week before, and who knows what the show could evolve into a few months from now. WWE already have all the key ingredients - they just need to find the right recipe. One thing is sure, it does not involve Tout or constant replays, you can count on that.
Has any man been on more of a roll than The Miz this summer? While it could be argued that Daniel Bryan has evolved into one of the most interesting characters in all of WWE, Bryan's one flaw is his win/loss record. Despite competing in a world or WWE Championship match in every Pay-Per-View of 2012 thus far, Bryan hasn't won a PPV since Elimination Chamber back on February. The Miz on the other hand has done the complete opposite. After snapping a 20-match losing streak (not counting house shows) at Wrestlemania 28, The Miz has been nearly unstoppable since his surprise return at last month's Money in the Bank PPV.
And it's about damn time.
I've said it many times in the past, and I guarantee that my colleague mizfan has said it as well, but The Miz is a bonafide megastar. No, he does not have the wrestling ability of Dolph Ziggler, and is not as great as Chris Jericho on the mic, nor is he as charismatic as John Cena, but he is the total package, and that's what makes him awesome. Just because he doesn't excel in each department, it doesn't mean he's a flop. Miz has wrestled some great matches since transitioning into a singles wrestler, has cut some excellent promos, and is charismatic in his own right. In fact, I'd say that Miz's biggest flaw used to be his appearance, but he's made some major improvements while he was off becoming a movie star.
For starters, he got rid of the faux-hawk. Miz already has a kid's face, and that haircut wasn't doing him in any favours. But now that he's slicked his hair back, he looks more mature, and of course that's complimented by his new facial hair, which I'm also a fan of. In professional wrestling, appearance makes a huge difference, and in order for The Miz to be seen as a top competitor, he had to get a makeover, and I think this one will prove very effective in the long-run. He may still have a duck face, but at least it's less noticeable now.
Another good sign for The Miz's future, or his "rebirth" if you will, is the way he's been booked the last month. When he returned at the start of Money in the Bank and inserted himself into the RAW MitB main-event, not only did the crowd pop for it, but when it came time for action, Miz looked like he hadn't missed a beat. Often, people will laugh at the fact that Miz is grouped into a list of former WWE Champions that include names like The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and John Cena. Well, I watched MitB last month, and Miz didn't seem out of place sharing the ring with main-event talent like Cena, Jericho, and Kane. The Miz looked and felt like he belonged.
That's partly why I feel The Miz is a great candidate to hold the Intercontinental Championship at this point in time. Right now, the main-event scene is far too cluttered, and if Miz would go after a world title, he'd find himself in a similar tailspin as he was after Wrestlemania - with lots of momentum but nowhere to go. As the IC Champ, Miz has loads of contenders, from both RAW and SmackDown - Brodus Clay, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, Ryback, Kane, Ted DiBiase(?), which would all offer some fresh, unique match-ups. Miz instantly brings name-value to the title, as he's a former WWE Champion, and a recent one at that. By the way, this isn't a knock against Christian - I just didn't enjoy his title reign, to be honest.
Anyways, Miz can accomplish a lot by being the Intercontinental Champion. He was already on a roll before losing cleanly to Kane on RAW last Monday. Shit like that needs to stop happening if WWE wants people to take their midcard titles seriously. Santino has already disgraced the United States Championship so badly that there may be no reviving it, but Miz can keep the IC title relevant if they let him. For some reason, Miz always looks great when he's a champion (be it U.S., tag team, or WWE Champion) as if title belts were made for him. Miz is probably the first midcard champion in a long time (again, sorry Christian) that could go one-on-one with the WWE or the World Champion in the main-event and it would feel like a huge, either guy could win. That's because The Miz is one of the new faces of wrestling, and will be around for a long, long time.
I know I spent the majority of today's column praising Mike Mizanin, but Miz's potential could all go to waste if he fucks things up for himself. It wasn't even a year ago that people were saying Miz lost his passion, lost his touch, and that exploded when Miz infamously failed to catch R-Truth not that long ago. If Miz keeps his head in the game, he could go on to be one of the greatest superstars of our generation - hell, he's already accomplished so much, and he's yet to reach his peak. At the same time, Miz could fall into another drought where he's miserable to be around and no fun to watch or listen to. I have high hopes for The Miz, but that could all come crashing down in a second. His future is in his hands.
What do you think, awesome readers? Are you a Mizfit? Or do you think The Miz is seriously over-rated? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Did You Know?
Only a small percentage of the world's population is left-handed. Believe it or not, The Miz is a 'lefty'.
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Talk to you later!