Sep 18 - NOC/Raw Thoughts
Raw - Top Face Pushes
There’s no denying that Monday night’s audience helped elevate an above average Raw to something extra ordinary, especially the ending. WWE is absolutely firing on all cylinders to make a new star out of Daniel Bryan. Not everything is perfect, but the fact that the effort is there is so impressive. Whether you’re a fan of Cena or not, there’s no denying that WWE has milked his run dry in every possible sense. I’m a fan of his, but I can’t deny that how WWE uses him has been a big reason for the drop in ratings, buyrates, and general profits. I don’t have numbers to back any of this up, but if you have a star that is continuously pushed, all the while being booed by a large section of the audience, you’re going to turn off some people. Has he earned or gained more fans than WWE has lost? It’s impossible to say, but I’m betting that he hasn’t.
So while I do believe he is still the best wrestler in the WWE, there is no smarter move for WWE to make than to find people who could potentially replace him as the top face. It almost seems like a shame that it took an injury to John for this to happen, because it could have easily been done a few times by now.
That is why when Daniel Bryan was saved at the end of Raw, and then hoisted on the shoulders of those involved to the absolute joy of those in attendance, the supposed hatred HHH and Vince show to guys like Dolph and Daniel on-screen was erased with the knowledge that they are smirking backstage at the magic that is being pulled off. Not only do they have a star that is making live audiences erupt in excitement on a regular basis, but the co-stars on the side of the protagonists are getting a damn decent rub as well. Dolph Ziggler is well on his way to following the Shawn Michaels path to superstardom, failing to capture the top title as a heel, turning face to once again win a midcard championship, and then moving up from there. Daniel Bryan should definitely get top priority here, but Dolph needs to take advantage of the opportunities he’s going to receive. Yes, he might still be behind Bryan, Punk and Cena in terms of being the top baby face in the company, but those are 3 of the best face stars in the history of wrestling in some form or another (Cena as THE face, Daniel Bryan as a modern Bret Hart as the technician, and CM Punk as the modern Stone Cold as a gopher who can pull anything off). Let Dolph Ziggler’s future is bright, even if the supposed doghouse is his current home. Much like Shawn, his best glory will be found when he turns heel again in the future. Bryan vs Ziggler over the US Title stole 2010. Bryan vs Ziggler for the WWE Title could do the same in 2014.
Big Show is one of the most versatile characters ever, and is pulling off great dramatic moments with his instant cry baby skills. I know some are tired of this act, and I understand it completely, but it’s having the desired effect of solidifying his allegiance as a hero who can (and will) demolish anyone in his path once given the opportunity. When he explodes, so will the WWE Universe. When will this happen? Well, if I were on the WWE creative team, I would let the HHH regime use their incessant heel trickery to let the face stars kill their own hopes and dreams. Weeks ago, Big Show was ordered to fight Daniel Bryan, and Big Show begged off most of the time, not wanting to hurt his friend. I think eventually, these 2 will face off again with the stipulation that if Big Show wins, he’ll be free to do as he wishes again. The flipside is that if Daniel Bryan wins, Bryan earns a title shot or a spot in the Royal Rumble. Something needs to be on the line for both of them, where both want to win, but hate to see the other guy lose. The drama that would be created out of this would be palpable, and would easily fit on a PPV as the main or co-main event. And the end result should be a Daniel Bryan victory, therefore leaving Big Show still in the clutches of the McMahons.
“But if that leaves Big Show at the mercy of Stephanie and HHH, who will come to his rescue?”
2 options. The obvious one is Ted DiBiase Sr. There are some decent ties to have him return to the WWE in this storyline, joining forces with the Rhodes family for instance. It would mean seeing Ted Jr. return as well, but for this angle it might be worth it.
The other option is the man I mentioned before as the role model for how Ziggler should rise to contention. HHH mentioned Shawn in his promo vs Bryan on Monday, which I think is a wide open obvious sign that he could be returning to the fold of WWE as someone who will take the non-wrestling position of defending Bryan, Big Show and the rest of the fighting faces. He can help out Big Show after he too was stuck monetarily to JBL in 2009.
We’ll see. Either way, after a depressingly disappointing Night of Champions PPV, WWE turned things around with a solid Raw.
Tag Team Wrestling - YAY!
Did anyone else notice how hot the crowd reacted to the awesome tag team wrestling on Sunday and Monday? For a division with as little storyline and attention as they get, the in-ring action has more than made up for it. Tag Team wrestling is such a great asset to a wrestling show, in that they can give solid and exciting action without a storyline very easily. 5 teams were thrown on the TV screens Sunday night during the pre-show, and they nearly stole the show. Other than 3MB, all the teams had their moments to shine. The Prime Time Players came out on top, and then followed it up with a more than decent tag match with the Shield on the PPV portion. Then on Monday night, the tag division excelled again, nearly stealing the show for the 2nd night in a row. A Triple Threat #1 contendership match was an excellent addition to the show, and was given more time than I expected. I covered last week how the 3 hour Raws have allowed more wrestling content to fit on the show in longer matches, and how the tag division has also had their fair share to expand in more TV time. This past Monday, both aspects were combined as the match extended into and through a commercial break, giving everyone an awesome tag team match that had the Usos come out on top. It’s no secret that these subtle attempts to get the tag division over is helping the overall product, and opening doors for their stars. During the Daniel Bryan celebration to end the program, it was Titus O’Neil and Darren Young who help up the now 2-time former WWE Champion on their shoulders. The Usos were also involved, as they build up momentum to take on The Shield.
I can’t explain how excited I am about solid tag wrestling returning to Monday nights. After the SummerSlam pre-show title shot for the identical twins, I expect the 2nd title match between the Usos and The Shield to have the stakes raised. Too awesome.
And on that note, Peace out
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