Nov 12 – Raw Thoughts
I am not sure what’s going on with Ryback, but there isn’t another star on the WWE roster that seems to have fallen from grace like he has. It’s impossible to know the true details, but I feel like he’s a victim of so many happenstance circumstances from behind the scenes in WWE. There’s little doubt that his momentum was monstrous from last fall to Wrestlemania, despite losing every PPV match in that time frame. Even after losing to Mark Henry at Wrestlemania, the post-Mania Raw had everyone chanting “Feed Me More!”
I have said it before, but I’m so sure that Ryback was meant to have a feud with Mark Henry that extended over a couple of PPVs, and not just a single Wrestlemania match which was inconclusive. That leads me to believe that the Rock disappearance after Mania led to a mad scramble to find something major to go with into the spring. Ryback was then fed to Cena, and is in no position to climb back up. The future is a lot more bright for the company developing new face stars in Daniel Bryan and CM Punk than it is to rebuild a heel Ryback.
It’s a major shame, because Ryback was so ****ing over. The chants, the in ring charisma, the moves... it all just worked. When was the last time he won a match with the Shellshock? It’s been completely forgotten since the days of him slamming 2 jobber opponents at the same time.
I don’t think his in-ring ability is to be too harshly judged. Is he any more or less able to fit into the Batista mold in the main event? Batista had solid matches with the proper opponents, but was never skilled to carry a match. Ryback seems to already fill that role.
Would a face turn work? Maybe. But it’s hard to care about it. Big E Langston is already a more interesting face prospect out of the hosses. I thought a Ryback/Axel tag team could have legs, but with the tension with Heyman, it seems unlikely. So where does he go from here? I don’t know, but it won’t be as exciting as it once was.
Which leads me to the question: did the Rock bury Ryback without even being in the ring with him?
Wanting Larger Main Event Stars
Lots of commotion over the recent newsbyte that WWE wanted to slowly move Daniel Bryan and CM Punk out of the main event position, and into the midcard where they can excel on that level, and emphasize the larger roster members in the main event.
Then the next Raw, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were in a handicap match in the main event. And people wonder why I don’t put much stock into these online rumors.
WWE is about making money. If Punk and Bryan prove they can do that, they won’t be in the midcard. As a wise man once wrote, “Don’t Panic.”
Smackdown = The B Show
While the Friday night programming from WWE has often been relegated to being the redheaded stepchild, it’s never been more apparent than for the last few months. Or maybe it’s longer, but I’ve only noticed it recently.
Ever notice nothing ever happens on Smackdown anymore? Barring the Big E Langston face turn, what event has taken place on Friday nights? What chapter beat turned on the blue brand?
I’m not saying it’s a bad show, but it’s become a very “miss-able” program. If I don’t catch Smackdown before Raw, I never feel like I’m behind on the story. In fact, I realized last night that I hadn’t watched Smackdown since before Hell in a Cell. I guess I’m weaning off my addiction.
Speaking of Smackdown around Hell in a Cell, one of the moments I caught up with while watching older episodes was when Bray and the Wyatts had Miz chained and knocked out backstage. That feud seemed to just go nowhere. Is this another sign of WWE rushing to fix another error, like they did with Rock/Cena/Ryback after Wrestlemania? Now it’s Miz/Wyatts/Bryan+Punk?
I’ve not been a strong supporter of the Miz in the last year of his face run, but it feel so entirely unjustified to blame him for failing to get over when his angles have been so piss poor. Yet, instead of making a real attempt, they turned him heel last night. I’m not against it, but if you’re going to make a change to his character, there needs to be some follow through. While I’m not looking forward to Miz vs Kofi almost a year after their last feud with absolutely no twist to the story, except that the Intercontinental Championship is nowhere involved, at least go somewhere with it.
WWE’s idea of a midcard feud has been to have opponents face off on TV a dozen or so times. That’s it. Kofi vs Miz, Barrett vs Miz, any of the non-tag title feuds, Miz vs Fandango...etc. If you can devote 20 extra minutes a week to the already established Randy Orton outside of his matches so that he can throw ice at a trainer, you can devote 2 minutes to let midcarders practice some live mic time against each other in order for matches like Langston vs Axel to not feel underwhelming.
Oh, and if you’re so worried that these middle of the roster stars don’t have enough experience to work a live microphone, let them do pre-taped backstage promos or segments. Why are we hearing about hoe Kofi will get his revenge on the Miz through his Twitter, and not while Renée Young is holding a microphone in front of his face with the Raw logo behind them?
Convoluted Heel/Face Actions
The heel Authority was cheered as they announced heel GMs Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero to take on heel champions Randy Orton and AJ Lee. Then for the matches where it was heel vs heel, the crowd cheered the champions’ offense on the defenceless GMs, and cheered Maddox when he actually had a comeback, and when Vickie pulled very Eddie influenced cheating to get out of her match.
So, heel characters Stephanie, HHH, Orton, AJ, Vickie and Brad were all cheered and booed for a variety of reasons over the span of about 2 hours.
I won’t say it left me honestly confused, but it still felt like a mess. And I’m sure many fans were actually confused, at least those who don’t completely absorb themselves into the world of wrestling, like morons who write wrestling articles online without pay under the scrutiny of demented keyboard champions with egos to hold any and all restrictions over your head in an effort to get their friends to take your place...
But I digress...
A big problem since the SummerSlam was how the heel/face dynamic of HHH was not leaning enough to one side or the other. I agree that heels shouldn’t be pure evil, and vice versa. But because HHH just recently turned heel, there seems to be a grace period where he and his Authority needs to be pure heel in order to get the angle chugging along.
It may not be a big deal in the long run, since when Big Show or Daniel Bryan are facing off with HHH and/or Orton, there’s no confusing who is to be cheered and booed. But it makes the segments like the ones mentioned above harder to get into. When/If Brad is back, do I cheer him? And what was the point of it all? I would understand if the Orton beatdown on Maddox was to get the WWE even more hated, but due to the cheers that slipped through very understandably, it didn’t really work.
Oh, and I don’t really give a shit about the upcoming PPV. They really bungled this one. Shame.
UFC: St. Pierre vs Hendricks
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the UFC, but the commotion over the recent PPV event needed a comment.
I watched the event live, and I gave Hendricks the win winning 3 rounds to 2 (Hendricks taking rounds 1,2, and 4), but that it was close. That’s why when the champion was named the winner, I shrugged and went on with my life.
It seems like I’m the only one who isn’t making a big deal out of it. A robbery is when there’s an obvious winner, but the reverse decision is handed out. I thought Hendricks did enough to win the bout, but at the same time I didn’t feel like he did enough to earn the championship. It’s an old-school way of looking at things, but I feel the challenger needs to truly defeat the champion to take the title. Hendricks didn’t do that.
Also, upon watching the fight again, I can see why 2 of the 3 judges gave the first round to GSP. I don’t know if I am switching my opinion, but I could definitely see why someone would. I think many people were so astounded to see Hendricks outwrestle George, as well as handle the striking GSP uses to keep his opponents at a distance, that it swayed them into believing Hendricks was winning the round. In the end, GSP was still fighting his fight, but just not with the same dominance. Hendricks was able to score a takedown, and look like a threat with his big left hand. In the end though, GSP also scored a takedown, had a submission attempt, and kept the Hendricks left hand WMD away, while he still fought his fight.
Either way, I hope GSP returns to fight Hendricks in time. It wouldn’t seem out of character for St. Pierre to relinquish the title for now, and agree to earn it back upon his return.
Hendricks impressed me with how well he stood up to the champion, but he still has a way to go to deserve being the champion.
For a few columns/blogs, I’ve mentioned another project I’m working on. I’ve taken a break from the hassle of figuring out how to post it without issue. If there’s anyone who knows how to post a spreadsheet and keep the table onto a website with HTML, please contact me via email. I’ve figured out a way to post it, but for some reason it automatically creates an extra page of empty space before it starts. Any assist would be appreciated.
And on that note, Peace out
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