Andre Singleton (via facebook):
Totally agreed with everything you said here.... with the exception of Kane being "better" than the Undertaker. More agile, yes... but certainly not better.
I know you have no problem doing so, but can you explain your reasoning behind Kane being better than Taker (I also think Big Show is a better big man, but not by much).
Jon Jones just became my second favorite fighter in the world this weekend. Only Silva is better and I'm not even sure Silva could take him if he were healthy and could fight today.
As always, great read.
I have a big issue with the credit Undertaker gets as a worker. I’ll fully admit that I am not a wrestler, nor do I have any idea what talents it takes within the ring to aid your opponent to having a good match. I only know the things as a viewer that I enjoy to watch, and the little things I think I’ve learned about in ring work that keeps me entertained. I say “I think I’ve learned” because it’s hard to assume I know anything from my vantage point.
But, as a life-long WWF/WWE fan, I’ve watched the Undertaker wrestle since his debut in 1990. And for all the praise he gets as a top tier performer, I fail to see the greatness. I’m not saying he never has had a great match, don’t get me wrong. He has a list of classics under his belt, and honestly, more of them than Kane, Andre or Big Show. But I feel it is more to do with opponents and circumstances than his actual talent.
I’ve probably got enough hate towards Undertaker for a whole column, but it really stems from the fact that he’s simply not as good as the WWE likes to make us believe. His matches are not the 5star classics we’re told they are, and he’s a hype train who’s derailed more often than not.
Kane on the other hand was treated as simply serviceable, yet deserved more. I think Kane had better matches than Undertaker or Big Show with the same opponents. I won’t say that any HBK match with Kane was better than the top ones he had with Undertaker, but I think they were better than the ones that weren’t booked around gimmicks. I think any Kane vs HBK match is better than HBK vs Undertaker from Ground Zero in 1997.
Undertaker seems to get saved into having better matches due to No DQ stipulations, or Hell in a Cell gimmicks, or the momentum of the streak. But if you strip those assets away, there’s no contest.
But, I know this opinion is in the minority, so I won’t try to convert you, I’m just sharing my viewpoint.
As for Jon Jones, it’s too soon to say he’s better than Silva, nor would a superfight really determine it. I’m a sucker for these weight jumping superfights, but I don’t think they really determine who is better. If Jones won, which I’d predict he would, it could be from the size and strength advantage, not a skill. On the other hand, if Silva beats Jones, it does a lot more to convince me that Silva is better because he beat a bigger and stronger guy. Same goes for Silva vs GSP.
The draw is there, but unless the smaller guy wins, it doesn’t prove anything.
Chris Hagerman (via facebook):
I feel that Kane's method of return does signify a heel turn. While WWE is teasing the heel aspect of Cena's character, he's still definitely a face, so to chokeslam him without cause probably signifies a heel turn. It's not absolutely conclusive, but since Kane almost always works best a heel anyway they'd be smart to run with it.
There’s no doubt it was an attempt at a heel turn, my point was that I don’t think it was a truly effective one because the storylines around Cena these days has been shaped around booing him for being a face.
Ryan Irish (via facebook)
Jon Jones is amazing. I hate him he humbled my favorite fighter Shogun and you can tell Rashad wants nothing to do with him. Hendo says he wants him bu I can't imagine why. I wish Kane would go back to that force he was like when he first unmasked an RVD pretty much did everything to kill the dude and he kept getting up. And God please no HHH vs Undertaker rematch.
Dan Henderson has the puncher’s chance, and Rashad might have the tools to solve Jones. Either fight works for me.
Kane was a great heel in 2003-2004. He was neutered by the Evolution show, as it was hard to make him a solid heel when he played second fiddle to more HHH bullshit.
And as much as I hate HHH, the real problem wasn’t him hogging the spotlight, but the lack of depth on Raw. He put over Goldberg, but there was no one else to really work with. It’s one of the few times that having HHH on top made sense, and he put over the one guy who deserved it. Kane was just in a bad spot.
And agreed on HHH vs Taker 3. Last year’s was awful.
Josh Ragans (via facebook)
I agreed with everything you said except for this right here: "Anderson Silva out of credible challengers". Until I see a Sonnen rematch I will continue to say Sonnen is better than Silva.
I think Sonnen can beat Silva, but I don’t think he’s better than him. The way I see it, Sonnen can beat Silva, but a lot of the guys that Silva defeated as champion could defeat Sonnen. I just feel Sonnen *might* have The Spider’s number. But it wouldn’t make him the better man. It is the only match I’d be excited for at this time, because there’s no one else.
Eric Barnes (via facebook)
I liked your "Free For All" idea the first time I heard it. 12 years ago when it was called "Heat".
Cute. Yes, the WWE had this model with the Free For All, and Sunday Night Heat. I don’t think there’s anything to lose to try it again, but by putting on some TV quality wrestling on there as a lead in to a shorter and cheaper PPV. Again, this Network will need some exclusive content, and this would be a great way of doing it, as both the PPV and the Network would be feeding each other.
DBPanterA (via email)
PEN15, I have enjoyed reading your columns from a distance for a very long time. I agree with some of the points you make pertaining to the future WWE network. However, I think where WWE can really capitalize is using a few tricks from their professional sports counterparts.
The WWE really needs to either move Smackdown live Tuesday or live Friday (I know this has been brought up in the past). The fact it has been recorded gives me no incentive to watch it, and being an adult, Friday nights simply are not when I want to watch wrestling.
I also feel with many former wrestlers retired due to injury or personal decision, the WWE has a lot of talent in which to have a "MMA Live" style show in which you have a heel and face discuss what is currently happening in the WWE. When you air this show isn't important. The length could be 30 or 60 minutes. In fact, you could air it opposite TNA on Thursday if they really view them as a threat. But using a show like this weekly will keep the story-lines moving and fresh in the fan's minds. Further, while they do air an AM Raw, recap shows of what happened during the week could keep people informed. Having a 60 minute show on Sundays could theoretically keep people up to date for what they may have missed during the previous week. In fact, they could also go live after their normal television programming concludes to get reaction from their network studio, similar to the NFL or MLB.
I do like the idea of having a live show prior to a PPV, similar to UFC. Having the dark matches airing prior to the PPV might entice folks to buy it last minute, or at least get them amped for the PPV itself.
Lastly, I do agree with you on shorter/less expensive PPVs (non-Big 4). The UFC, which I have followed since its inception, generally has their best cards when there is no big names, and it's the ones with monster fights that tend to be the least entertaining (broad generalization). The WWE needs to help get their lower and mid card wrestlers exposure, and airing live events on the network where these guys can wrestle a 10 to 20 minute match can help them grow as performers. In fact, airing FCW matches would benefit the network as well, showing us what is in the pipelines (similar to MLB airing minor league games).
I understand your concern about Smackdown on Friday. I download Smackdown, and most of the time, I end up watching 2-3 episodes in a row to catch up before a PPV. This weekend is a prime example. I have yet to watch the show from the 9th of September, and I’ll download tonight’s episode. So, at some point over the weekend before TLC, I’ll watch 4 hours of Smackdown.
The reason I don’t really deem it an issue anymore is because if the WWE were able to move Smackdown permanently to another day of the week, I’m quite sure they would. I don’t have the know-how to understand how the programming works, but I have a hard time believing the WWE has the option to move to a Tuesday or Thursday night, and decide not to for no good reason.
Your MMA Live idea for WWE is intriguing. I’ll admit to ignorance of whatever program you are basing this off of, but your description sounds great. It would be a great way to get a feud going. Imagine this week, they had Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler on the show. Each of them would be giving their input into the CM Punk storyline, John Cena being attacked by Kane, Orton/Barrett, the upcoming Chairs Match between Big Show and Mark Henry, and obvious over their own issues. It would be a recap show, while still promoting their own angle and characters. VERY good idea.
I also agree with the idea of adding FCW onto the line up. Don’t change a thing about the show, air it like it is now, a local Florida promotion with a weekly show. Air it a week late if they have to keep their ties with whoever broadcasts their show in the Sunshine State. Showcasing those future stars, even if at 1am on a Wednesday night, will help the WWE no matter what.
There’s a lot of room for the WWE to use the WWE Network wisely. I just wonder if they are going to go in the right direction.
And on that note, peace out.
Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. I don’t look at the facebook comments too much, so I’ll hope for your email instead. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
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