I'm going in a totally different direction with this today. Some people haven't liked my little interviews, while others have absolutely loved me talking to other readers and pull them into my blogs. This week I'm talking to Chris Storm, sometimes known as the bad boy of the WNW commenting circuit, but also known as one of our newest predictors, and someone who is going to be working on a new series of articles, 'Legends That Never Held The Big One!' Bear with us on this one, and let us know what you think.
Ken - Okay, Chris, you're our friendly math geek and statistician, and we've had some interesting discussions lately about Flair, Punk and the WWE Championship. You told me that as of two days ago Punk passed Flair's time in length of time as Champ.
Chris - "Essentially, Punk may very well be the new face of pro wrestling. Cena is out of the title picture, and we know that Orton is, at least until after Wrestlemania. Punk has been WWE Champion longer than tons of big names, names like: Flair, Jericho, Sid, Del Rio, Big Show, Slaughter, Mankind, Hardy, Batista, Iron Sheik, RVD, Ivan Koloff, Buddy Rogers, Stan Stasiak, Vince, Kane, Rey Mysterio, & even André the Giant. If he holds the title until Wrestlemania, he will pass two more HOF'ers in Eddie Guererro, and Edge."
"While we all know it is scripted, it still really says something about the confidence that the office has in a worker when they hold a title longer than that same office allowed Ric Flair to hold it. Punk has also accomplished this with only two reigns as WWE champion. Foley held the same belt three times four roughly 1/3 the time that Punk has. Titles are treated much differently these days than they were in Flair's heyday. Back then titles were held for long periods of time, far longer than some are held today. For Punk to be on his way to pass Edge is tremendous in itself."
Ken - Do you really think that they have that confidence in Punk? You earlier didn't seem to think that they had that much in how they handled EC with him and Jericho last night.
Chris - "I don't think they have the same confidence in Punk that they would have in a Cena, or an Orton. But as even Richard has said on WNW, he is most certainly their number three guy right now. And if Orton's injury is legit, he very well could eventually be number two. Who knows, maybe number one. Keep this in mind, Sgt Slaughter is a Hall Of Famer, Punk has currently held the WWE Championship twice as long as he did."
Ken - Wow, that seems very wrong on some levels.
Chris - "It seems that way for a reason Ken. Fans have been conditioned to adjust to a new champion far too soon. The people that Punk has passed already is virtually a Who's Who of WWE history. Pretty much, the only people ahead of him at this point are people who are already in the HOF, in a different HOF, or will be at some point. With a few exceptions like Miz and Sheamus of course, who may be future HOF guys as well."
Ken - While I agree that Swagger and Sheamus were way too soon, I don't think Punk was. The IWC knew Punk for quite a while. Same with D-Bry. They might be new to the casual fans, but to the people who really about the ins and outs of the industry, we know these guys.
Chris - "Now you are listing people who have held the WHC. We are only looking at Punk's time as WWE Champion. In the grand scheme of things, Punk has been a World Champ in WWE 0.7 years of his career. On that ladder of stats, he is only behind AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, and John Cena with regards to active workers. And that is some seriously top shelf company he is keeping. If we are only looking at WWE guys, since they consider themselves to be the only pro wrestling ticket in town, he is very literally ONLY behind Orton and Cena which makes it very clear that he is their number three guy, period."
Ken - Behind them in numbers? In length of time holding the WWE Championship? And yes, we're talking the WWE Championship, but where does the WHC rate in comparison?" Or should we get to that later?
Chris - "Consider that he has only been with the company, on television, for less than six years, and the fact that he has been a world champion for 0.7 of those years is pretty impressive when you think of how long guys like Piper, Perfect and countless others worked in WWE and didn't even hold it for a single day."
Ken - Very, very true.
Chris - "I rank the titles together in the grand scheme of world champions. But we both know that Flair, if he were active would still be light years ahead of Punk on the all time list."
Video > D+
I guess I'm a little bummed that they're blowing off Cena's feud with Kane through this tiny clips video. Even worse is the big deal they made about Cena's AA off the top of the ambulance. To me it feels terribly disrespectful to a great wrestler.
Backstage Segment > D+
I have to say that I called Eve turning heel when she kissed Cena, but I really thought she was working with Kane. Either way, watching her out heel the Bellas was fun. I thought she did a decent job of heeling it up, and out heeling the Bellas – but when Cena showed up she felt very fake, lost her whole momentum. Honestly, I wished she had run around behind Cena's back for a bit, but maybe we'll see more of her when Rocky is on RAW next week.
In Ring Segment > C+
Even though this was a Cena promo, I thought it went fairly well. It wasn't very long and both sold Cena as a bit edgier – calling Eve a hoski and saying she's been drinking skank juice – while showing Eve to be a semi-psychotic hose beast. I'm glad it was short or it would have been overboard. I just wish that was the end of Cena for the night. No such luck.
Video > A
A nice little teaser for Taker, setting up for his later arrival.
Sheamus vs Henry > B
While Sheamus pulled off what I normally think of as a Cena or Orton type ending, he didn't make it look cheap. While I would like to see him finish all his matches with a pulled out of nowhere ending the way he did, once in a while it works. I was impressed with how he and Henry worked the ring together so neither looked weak or silly. It was a nice match to really start building Sheamus for WrestleMania, but it didn't do much to help Mr. Grumpy-Pants Henry.
Winner – Sheamus
Backstage Segment > C+
Not Laurinaitis' best, not Long's, but there were a few solid comments. I'm an Invader Zim fan, so his comment about being taller than Long had me giggling. On Zim's planet, the tallest are the ones in charge, but Laurinaitis doesn't have enough personality to have a clue about anything as interesting as that. (If you don't know Zim, go find him online and watch a bit. Episode 1 is on youtube.) Long's manure pile was descriptive, but it was his PeeWee's Fairy Godmamma comment was cute. The problem I'm having is that Laurinaitis is trying to hard to push his character. He got over and got the heat he did because of his flat personality. Playing Mr. Excitement only works if it's flat, but he's playing it too perky and it's fake, but in a bad way this time.
Promo > C
Rocky will be on RAW! Yes, he will get great pop and he needs to be there to push his WrestleMania match, but I don't want to see Rocky going on and on for a half hour about how much he loves us fans, will put boots to asses, push Fruity Pebbles, and talk about Cena's lady parts. As someone with lady parts, I'm insulted that Rocky says John Cena has them. I'm just worried that we'll get the same promises that we got a year ago, but he hasn't lived up to.
Oh, I loved his newest movie. It was beautiful in 3D, and I'll be taking my youngest to see it on Thursday – we wanted to see it before clearing her to see it. It was a beautiful film, and I'm talking about a lot more than Rocky's face and body. Actually, I was quite impressed that Rocky didn't strip off his shirt and his character wasn't right about everything. I guess what I'm saying is that Rocky is a solid actor and has put out some fun movies. I was pissed when he walked out on his wrestling fans, but now I'm more unhappy that he promised he'd never leave us again, but can barely do more than show up on the tron a couple times this past year.
R-Truth & Kofi vs Colons w/ Rosa > B
This match really upset me. We've been watching Kofi and R-Truth being built up as singles competitors. Both of them have been look great on mic and in the ring, because of that I thought both of them, Kofi especially, had broken free and was on his way up, but back to the Tag Division.
While all four looked great in the ring, I felt bad for all four being in that match. If it had been a team other than the WWE Tag Team Champs, I would have been fine with it, but to me it looked like Kofi and R-Truth were being sent back ten paces and the Colons had to job to these upper tier wrestlers. I know what I'm saying might sound contradictory, but hear me out. Kofi and R-Truth had to win this match after being in the Elimination Chamber, but it made the Colons look weak. Kofi and R-Truth didn't need to be in against the Tag Team Champs, almost any other team would have gotten them over while not making the Champs look weak.
Winners – Kofi & R-Truth
Video > A
I'm thrilled that Ron Simmons is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's about time! Also, I really hope it's JBL who inducts him. There's many others who would be great, but personally I want it to be JBL.
Backstage Segment > B-
I might get in trouble for this one, but Jericho didn't overly impress me here. He felt too whiny, too cranky, too wimpy. Jericho is from the era that you don't just sit back and complain, you do something! Actually, that's something about Trip and Taker talking about the end of an era, Jericho is still around, as is Kane. But yeah, I think it's time for Jericho to pick up the ball and run with it, really bring back that nasty Jericho we all fell in love with back in the day!
Otunga w/ Laurinaitis vs Zeke with Long > D
There's no way Otunga should have defeated Zeke! While Zeke isn't the best in the ring, he can still run circles around Otunga! Two equally talented (or untalented) guys in a fight, the stronger will win. I will say that Otunga's spinebuster looked decent. Possibly the best movie I've seen from him. After it was said and done, the way Laurinaitis taunted Long and Zeke was priceless. They're really pushing forward with this GM feud and it could be fun, but I wish it was after WrestleMania. Hear me out! There's going to be so much going on in the next weeks, this would have been good after WrestleMania, leading up to the Draft. I think it will lose something and take time away from bigger things on the Road to WM.
Winner – Laurinaitis... I mean Otunga!
Video > A-
Even though I usually complain about redundant videos, this is in a whole other realm. Taker is the Phenom, one of the biggest names of all time, and it's the Road to WrestleMania! This is year twenty for the streak! Then add in how great the Taker videos are and it's hard to complain.
Backstage Segment > A+
The way they only showed Taker's feet walking down a dimly lit hallway was brilliant. No one is handled the way Taker is.
In Ring Segment > A
I have to say that that one man who was yelling insults at Taker really annoyed me. I know that not everyone loves Taker, but his comments carried so loudly on TV that it was quite distracting to watch.
Taker on mic, as always, was wonderful. He carried himself well, paused at interesting moments and really let the fans soak in what he was saying. I like how they kept Taker's lighting on and only briefly stepped away for Trip's entrance, then right back to Taker's dark and eerie lighting.
I love how Trip gave Taker his props for what he's done in his career. Both of them were amazing in this segment. Trip was back to his nostrils flaring, his body shaking. The chemistry and emotion between the two of them is epic. What further made this segment above and beyond anything we've seen in the WWE lately was the camera work. They obviously spent some time to set up the angles, but Taker in the ring with Trip in the spotlight on the ramp and Trip's face up on the tron over Taker's shoulder was brilliant!
I understand the symbolism of Trip taking off his jacket and tie off all the time, and he's good at it, but I hope that's the last we see of that. I hope last week isn't the last we've seen of HBK, and the fans sounded like they agree with me. Actually, after all Trip's been saying about the company and the industry, I was hoping we'd see Steph last night. I really hoped that if Trip agreed to this match, that Steph would come out and tell him that it wasn't happening. It's been a long time since we've seen her on TV, and she has a stake in the company too. So Trip losing his temper and agreeing to face Taker after he wasn't going to do it for the sake of the company, you'd think she would have agreed with Trip and would try to stop him. It think it would add another interesting layer to their fight going into WrestleMania.
I'm not overly interested in seeing them face off again at WrestleMania, but these promos are getting me interested. I love that they're having a Hell In A Cell at WrestleMania. Even better that it's Trip versus Taker for the streak. The only thing more I can hope for at this point is a real AE match with color. I'm in awe and can't wait!
Slam of The Week > B
I always find it interesting at how they manage to change up each Elimination Chamber. I was thrilled to see Big Show ripping the chains off the top of D-Bry's pod and climbing in with him. Such fun!
D-Bry vs Santino > B
I'm a huge Santino fan, as well as D-Bry, but I have to say it's been fun watching Santino getting his fun in the ring with the 'big boys'. He handled himself well in the ring and it was fun to watch. Not a match I want to see every week (though I'm really itching to see D-Bry and Punk in the ring together tonight), but it was nice to see Santino continue to have fun segments. While I love Santino's comedy, it's nice to see that TPTB are willing to put him in bigger matches with real wrestling moves, even if he's there to be a bit silly. Shows what I've been saying all along, Santino can wrestle when given a chance.
Winner – D-Bry
Divas Match > F
Well, the Bellas are right back to being heels with their twin magic. I was not impressed with anything in this match, and still don't know why the Bellas are wearing those horrible outfits, though they were outdone with Aksana and that glomby zipped down her back. Please, please, please bring Kharma back!
Winners – Bellas
In Ring Segment > A-
I have a lot to say about this segment, but am glad I didn't write this last night as I have been forced to reexamine my thoughts on it. Last night I was in awe at how the fans didn't react to Cena from the start of this segment. They were hot and with him when he was in the ring with Eve early on, but the start of this they were dead! Little pop, and surprisingly little heat. I thought Cena was sunk.
But then, slowly, he fought through it and by the end the fans were wild for him, and much of them were all for him. He received less heat here than he has in a while. He hit the fans where they really hurt, wanting Rocky to care for them (us). He didn't only hit us in the eyebrow, but he did it by throwing Rocky's own words back at him, but did it in a very thuganomics way. Cena was edgier and hotter than he's been in a couple years. This segment proved that Cena doesn't have to turn heel, but he has to stop being that corny and over the top goody-goody, he just has to be willing to have a bit of an edge to him.
10 Man Battle Royal > B- & F!
Parts of this match really irked me. First off, we knew Jericho was going to be facing Punk at WrestleMania, so why did they have to do this? And some of those eliminations looked a bit dangerous. No, I am not jumping on the bandwagon to bash Big Show for how he threw Dolph as he did not over throw him, and he did not cause Wade's injury! After than less than stellar RKO people have been wanting to blame everything they can on Big Show when it's just not true. While Big Show is not as young and spry as he once was, he'd not lost it and should not be pulled from the ring as he's dangerous as he isn't.
I thought most everyone looked decent in the match and I was thrilled to see Santino last as long as he did, but I didn't like that he was thrown over the side where Wade was being worked on. He did hit Wade's hand, but it could have been much worse. Cody might not have had his strongest match, but it's hard to make absolutely everyone look great in a big match like this.
I expected more form Jericho, but he won me over in the end when he left the ring, but rather than leaving he went over to find out what had happened to Wade. While off mic, Jericho could clearly be seen asking what happened to Wade. To me that's the true judge of character. Speaking of judge of character, while Vickie was trying to sell her worry for Dolph after the landing, it was obvious that she was watching Wade, not Dolph. She looked torn. It had to be so hard to stay there in character and not go check on Wade, find out if he was okay. I'm not sure how I would have handled it myself.
When Wade hit the floor it was obvious that he was injured. Between the way he slapped the floor with his right hand, and the F-bombs he dropped, there was no way around it. I don't know if the guys at announce didn't see Wade at first, but the way they kept pushing Dolph being injured annoyed me. It was so hard to watch Wade down there getting worked on. It distracted me from the match. I wasn't sure if it was his shoulder or what. King said broken arm, but that didn't feel right either. The way the trainer had his arm immobilized to the floor while waiting for others to help, I thought either he broke his elbow or dislocated it. I'm glad it was only a dislocation - as painful as dislocations can be (left kneecap when I was in 5th grade), it should be easier to get past than a broken elbow. I know I'm not one of Wade's biggest supporters, but seeing him down last night made me remember how hard he's been working and I think it really sucks that he won't be able to work WrestleMania this year. It's what they all work for, and to be injured just before has to hurt his heart as much as his elbow.
And since I mentioned announce during this match – Punk was awesome! I hope, when he's done in the ring, that he gets a job on announce as he's just wonderful there. Like Rocky, Punk is meant to talk as well as wrestle. Okay, that's wrong. In reality Punk is a much better wrestler than Rocky ever was, but you know what I mean!
Winner – Jericho
After that RAW I have some questions on my mind.
1) Will Eve run around behind Cena's back and do all sorts of horrible things, and is she going to be the right type of, and big enough, heel to possibly get involved, maybe help Beth, when Kharma returns.
2) Will Cena, Rocky, Trip, Taker, HBK, Punk, Jericho, etc be allowed to fall back into the Attitude Era promos and ring work? If they continue like this, the Road to WrestleMania will be a fun one!
3) Will Steph ever be back on TV?
4) Will Sheamus be able to stand up and run with the push he's getting? Personally I think and hope he will handle it the way ADR didn't.
5) Will WrestleMania be as amazing as we think it can be?
6) Will Live Super Smackdown be kick butt? Will D-Bry versus Punk, how can it not?