Various Raw Thoughts
Since I’m a bit late to the party, I won’t divulge a full Raw Review, but it’s hard to write something on a Tuesday afternoon after Monday Night raw and not discuss what occurred.
I’m sure these comments are viewed by WWE and Jericho himself as standard moron internet bitching, but the truth is that something is wrong with this return. The last 6 months, the WWE has shown an unreal amount of booking failures due to obvious “booking-on-the-fly.” I’m not talking about “OK, this isn’t working, we need to change gears and fix it,” and Jericho’s return is fitting the same bill. The videos were cryptic, dark, mysterious, and involved a “she” who’s led him to this return. The result has been a guy wearing a lit up jacket, smiling the whole time, and not saying a word. They don’t go together.
I’m all for “letting a story unfold,” and encourage it more often than not when it comes to wrestling. But this isn’t intriguing me. I was interested to see how week #2 would go down, but it was more of the same. I won’t say I’m disinterested. But the amped feeling I had when Jericho returned faded away. Something has to be done to keep me hooked into seeing what happens. By saying “let’s see what happens,” you’re basically saying “I don’t care how boring this movie is for 85 minutes, the last 5 minutes make it great.” It doesn’t work that way. They can’t unload the entire story in our laps in 2 weeks, but they haven’t delivered anything. In a world of attention deficit disorder, with smart phones for constant updates, youtube, and instant gratification, a long drawn out delivery with nothing in between will not work. Making me boo Jericho for being a pompous ass is one thing. Making me not care at all is another.
Since his appearance on NXT, Brodus has been nothing but a monster heel in the vain of One Man Gang. Last night, he was reincarnated as a modern Akeem. At first I stated out loud to my girlfriend “He’s fu**ed. They fu**ed him.”
But it didn’t take long for me to change my opinion. He made the gimmick work. It’s not what we expected, so people will be pissed off. But they gave us something else that was interesting (See Jericho, this is how it works). I won’t expect everyone to agree, but I think it was a great move. The generic monster heel is an easy route to go at anytime, and if this gimmick fails, he can turn easily without issue. But in the meantime, WWE needs new stars to cheer for. While the next generation of heels is getting their share of chances in the spotlight, the WWE Universe is running out of heroes to get behind. Honestly, looking at the crop of future stars, heels outweigh the faces almost 2 to 1. Now, these guys could also become successful faces, but it doesn’t change the fact that we still need some of them NOW.
Also, had he returned as regular beast Clay, what would he be doing on Raw? Who would he be working with? And how different from Mark Henry would he be? There was no reason to bring him back this way, but as a likable face, he has a lot more room to move. He’s only behind CM Punk, Zack Ryder, John Cena, Chris Jericho (if he’s a face), and R-Truth on the roster of ‘good guys.’
And, he seems to be having fun with it. It’s only his first appearance like this, so there’s a lot of ways this can go. I see lots of potential, especially with the eventual Snoop Dogg appearance which will work much better now than if Brodus was generic hoss #7. Great stuff.
MIZ VS R-TRUTH
Again, Jericho, this is how it’s done. While Truth has been back almost as long as you’ve been, he’s been doing something with the last 2 weeks of appearances. Nope, it’s not very original, and no, it’s not perfectly enthralling. But there’s at least a light at the end of the tunnel, and a direction to get there.
Honestly, I don’t know if turning Truth face was a good idea. I’m not against it, because as I stated already, Raw needs face stars more than heels. I just don’t know if it’ll work. He’s not as funny as a face. Similar to how Kurt Angle, the goofy face character, didn’t work out well and needed to become the natural athlete again. Furthermore, I think the WWE would be wise to give Miz the win out of this one, as he has much more potential than R-Truth does long term.
Right now, Miz is in what I call “Macho King limbo”. He’s been defeated for the main event title by the Hulk Hogan of our time, and needs something to keep himself relevant until he can turn face, capture our hearts, and become a threat again. A villainous win over mentally unstable Truth would be the right move.
CM PUNK VS DOLPH ZIGGLER (with a touch of Cena)
I don’t know why, but I really don’t care about who wins this one. I am not of the feeling that another test run for Dolph would ruin him, nor harm CM Punk. As much as I would love to say that Punk should be THE man, and Raw must be devoted to him, the fact is that for one reason or another, he’s not achieving the sort of success that’s expected from him in terms of ratings. I don’t think that’s a fair way to judge his success, and think that buyrates would be a much safer route. If the 2012 Royal Rumble does better in sales than the 2011 version, I think it’s a sign to trust Punk. Cena was not a main component last year, while Edge and Randy Orton both were. If Punk/Dolph can outsell Edge/Dolph and Miz/Orton, it would be hard to argue that the WWE are striking while the iron is hot.
And if he does fail to do better business, than it still doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on the Punk reign. One man does not drive the company. The fact is that ratings are down with or without Punk on top. The benefit of keeping him there is that he’s at least fresh, and can catch on, while Cena has had his run. The WWE are rather deadest on keeping him as is, so why let the money slip with him as the champ when he can still be a top face, while helping establish others? There’s no harm in building towards Punk vs Cena again for Summerslam 2012 by keeping both of them in prime positions. By panicking and making Cena champ again, WWE is painting themselves into a corner. Who would Cena work with? Pick anyone on the roster who can be a draw against Cena. Seriously! Name one person that Cena could still bring a fresh angle with without turning heel?
The answer is no one.
So keep the title off Cena, but make him a top star. Develop stars with Punk as champ, and having feuds to re-establish his challengers, starting with Dolph. If Ziggler comes out looking strong from working against Punk, he’d be a new name to work with Cena in some capacity. But at this point, he’s not ready. Nor would he be without working with a fresh face.
That’s the main reason WWE should keep Punk involved with the WWE Title, as it gives them more options. I won’t pretend that Punk should be the #1 guy all the time, and forget Cena altogether. The WWE have been riding the Cena train for a long time, and arguably, it’s been too long. I honestly have no problem with the man, but the problem they are facing is that there’s not much else he can do as champion. Either he needs to lose to some people (who he’s mostly demolished) or others need to get credible wins to be threats again. Right now, he’s been #2 behind Punk in terms of wins-losses in their record. That’s key, because while Cena is still the face, Punk has credibility over him, and it can be brought back at anytime the WWE sees fit.
So Punk should remain champ, or be the top face chasing the title. Dolph would do fine with his own title run, though I think it’s a bit early. It’s hard to believe the WWE would put a lot of steam into his run. Unless the goal is to give him a short reign like Edge in early 2006, as a step towards being a major main event threat by later in the year. But even if they are going that route, the biggest piece to the Edge puzzle was a huge win at Wrestlemania. Who is left for Dolph to get a major victory over?
So I don’t see him winning, but will be made to look strong. He’ll lose credibly, be included in the Chamber, and have some sort of match at Wrestlemania. Barring a cross promotional match with someone strong on Smackdown like Sheamus or a Money in the Bank match, Dolph will lose at Mania, but will get back in the title picture after SummerSlam and Cena vs Punk part III.
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.
Follow me on Twitter if you wish, though I don't really do much with it.