Post-Payback Random Thoughts
Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
Thank Jebus we have LOP and rumors to keep us excited for WWE. Every year, it seems WWE creative team shuts down post-Mania, and coasts along like Honky Tonk Man did with his title of “Best Intercontinental Champion of All Time.” In a period with dropping ratings and buyrates, new superstars attempting to make their impression on a ever more finicky fan base, and a stale main event scene driven by John Cena and which ever heel is being set up to fall against him, you’d think WWE would put in a bit of effort to keep fans enthralled on a regular basis. But no, instead, it’s time to coast.
The reason I thank LOP is because I tune in to see the Daniel Bryan story more than ever. I am not one to put a lot of faith in online rumors, but it’s hard to keep my excitement down for a possible Daniel Bryan vs John Cena PPV main event. It seems like a smart move to strike while the iron is hot, and I can’t help but be motivated to shell out some money towards the WWE machine when they move in a direction I am a fan of.
Now, what I’m advising everyone reading this to do is not get too excited. The rumor was very preposterous when you consider everything we’ve seen from WWE over the last decade. A face vs face battle is unlikely as it is. WWE face Champion John Cena vs underdog face challenger Daniel Bryan is even more improbable.
With Ryback officially out of the title picture, we will need to see a new angle for John Cena to attempt to freshen up. I could be wrong, and this could happen. But it just seems entirely too preposterous. Also, don’t forget that Daniel Bryan has no storyline reason to go after Cena, while he has tension developing with Randy Orton. Something tells me that these two will face off first, and hopefully Orton is the one who will turn heel. After that, maybe it’ll be time for Bryan vs Cena. Maybe. But unlikely.
Speaking of the ambulance driving monster, it’s hard to figure out where he goes from here. While I doubted his potential to be a top babyface due to his skills, there’s still a major letdown feeling when it comes to this heel turn. What a waste. There’s little doubt that WWE has fed too many burgeoning talents to build up John Cena over and above what is necessary, but no example is as bad as Ryback. He was treated no different than the Great Khali. For the Indian it made sense as there is and was very little upside or potential, and they needed to use his size right away before too many fans saw through to the fact that he was a lumbering fool.
This is not the case with Ryback. All signs pointed to people chanting “Feed Me More” for a long time, as long as he was used as someone the crowd could get behind as he climbed the ladder. He was nowhere near out of options as a face, and had a lot of work left unfinished with Mark Henry. By turning Ryback heel too quickly, they ruined not only his momentum, but Mark Henry’s. Is there any doubt that Sheamus was moved laterally into what spot Ryback was supposed to take at Extreme Rules?
Ryback is in a tough spot, as he altered his entire character, and failed to connect with the fans and didn’t capture the title. Lovely.
Where does he go from here? Probably taking on Sheamus.
There is one bonus of him not winning the title, and that his eventual face turn down the line will be all the more exciting as he hasn’t reached that level yet. He may never have the same momentum that he had around Hell in a Cell or Wrestlemania, but he hasn’t peaked either. There is a much better chance of success down the road in failing to capture the WWE Championship this time around.
Did we witness a rare double turn at Payback? We may have. If so, I’ll all for it. Ziggler as a face is something that always seemed like a long term project, but the recent injury opened that door much earlier than I expected. He has all the tools and attributes to be a Shawn Michaels or Chris Jericho for 2013. The timing couldn't be any better in the sense that John Cena is going to have to slow down or back off at some point, and WWE has absolutely no real prospects to take over as top face now that Ryback is heel. They’ve obviously dropped the hopes in Alberto Del Rio being a cheered star (how that warrants a return to being a heel champion, I’ll never know), Daniel Bryan is lacking size to be taken as a true threat in the main event, the Miz needs rebuilding in the midcard, and HHH, Undertaker and The Rock are all part timers. The return of Rob Van Dam will add a name to the mix, but it’s not a name to build up for the future. Dolph Ziggler may have lost the World Heavyweight Title, but he may have been given a golden ticket to something even greater.
Alberto Del Rio
Fuck Del Rio. He’s no less tolerable as a heel. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with WWE, but he’s not catching on with these shoves to the top. He is a talented guy, so I don’t think they should drop him from his contract, but goddamn he needs to be removed from the main event. Fucking hell.
Rob Van Dam
This could be a good thing. I won’t repeat the standard complaints about RVD, because they are just as original as his moveset (even though they are accurate). What he does bring to the table is name value and historical credibility. He is also living proof that wrestlers need time off, even if only to work for TNA or in Japan. After being away for a number of years, he’s returning to a spot higher than when he left. He may have taken a pay cut while being in TNA, but the time away helps him regain from his losses. He didn’t job to Orton on his way out, but he didn’t do much of worth after dropping the WWE and ECW title in 2006. It’s been 7 years since then, and he’ll be brought in to be another top name despite what’s occurred in that time frame. It rejuvenated Christian’s career as well. There’s no doubt Kurt Angle could return tomorrow and be inserted against John Cena and main event Summerslam. The pay and work cut is a valuable break for guys that work their bodies as much as wrestlers do. Especially at the age of 42 like RVD. He can walk into Money in the Bank and be a credible threat to anyone on the roster.
He has lots of options, be it as a Heyman guy vs Punk, or someone like a Wade Barrett, maybe a heel run? I might not be excited, but I am interested.
Thank you Mark Henry for the last few years of your career. But Fuck You for the rest.
You're going to see a lot of sympathy towards the World's Strongest Man, and rightfully so. He gave a lot of years of his life to WWE, and he might be retiring under sad circumstances. But you're going to see lots of fake condolences about how great he was. He became great, but it took a damn long time for that to happen. And there was a much longer period of time where everyone and their mother wanted nothing to do with Mark Henry in WWE. Things have changed now, and he's made himself quite the asset. But some people are quick to forget how much they hated Mizzark until his run in ECW and reign as Champion. Don't buy into it. No one who says “I always secretly liked the guy” is telling you the truth. It's ok to say you weren't a fan of his until recently. There's nothing wrong in saying that. Mark Henry deserves a lot of recognition for being able to develop his skills to the point he's been at since 2008. It doesn't mean the previous 12 years didn't suck though.
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. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
Follow me on Twitter if you wish, though I don't really do much with it.