Hello everyone, this is the first in a series of weekly articles as a new feature here on the site - Every Monday prior to RAW (excluding this article and pending reader feedback) I will do a rundown (hence the title) of the week that was in the WWE, citing happenings I perceived as positive and negative. This is NOT objective by any means, and strictly reflects my own opinion. This feature will be very similar to the Aftermath Radio Win/Fail (formerly Shine/Heat - by the way Arda and Jimmy if you're reading this - Shine/Heat was a much better name) feature, so I'd like to thank them for inspiring this (check out Aftermath Radio every Monday night after RAW on http://radio.thescore.com/programs/right-after-wrestling . They also have weekly interviews with varying wrestling figures which are usually absolutely fascinating)
So without further ado, let's get to the posits and negs of the week (posits-short for positives-will be stylized with + bulletins, and the negs - short for negatives as you probably already made out - stylized with - bulletins)
cheap blog-plug: In this Article I reference my Landau Landscape Blogs. if you haven't read them yet go do it to better understand my referencing, there are only 4 of them so far (In this particular article I reference Landscapes I and IV). Obviously this Article is readable without said Blogs but it would be enriched, I believe, for those who have read them.
+ Laurinaitis is really impressing me as of late. He plays his role to perfection in my eyes. Not sure if the stutter is intentional or not, but regardless - it should be.
+ Punk having two great choices going out of his gauntlet made it really unpredictable (the right path was taken for the long run; see further down this article)
+ Rhodes going under to Booker, but just barely. Right call here, keeps the feud alive, doesn't bury Cody and allows him to pick up the victory clean in the rubber match. The evener the feud, the better Rhodes comes out after getting the best of it.
+ Kidd and Nattie back together is very welcome in my eyes.
+ Ziggler going over in the gauntlet is absolutely the right choice. Any other outcome would bury him, and if you've read the latest Landau Landscape you know I think he more than deserves a run at the top.
+ Smart way to keep Henry supposedly active by having him in the gauntlet without appearing. (With a drawback which will be addressed in the negs column.)
+ Kane's speech. A lot of smart things were said in that speech, and Glenn Jacobs is widely known as a very intelligent man. Not only was the wording perfect, but the message is in many ways true. It was taken to the pessimistic side because Kane is heel, but it's true nonetheless. Let me explain the brilliance in what Kane said (as shortly as possible, in italics for those inclined to skip over it, as it's not wrestling related): modern society teaches us to be the best we possibly can, all the time. What that does is make everyone aim for something they are unable to be: Perfection. "Above-human". What Kane said is basically – Embrace yourselves. Embrace your shadow, as Carl Jung put it. "In your shadow lies your biggest treasure". Only when a person accepts his faults can he truly be happy and whole, and he can utilize said faults for good instead of running away from himself. If you run away from your faults, parroting to yourself that you don't have them, you can never use them for your own causes. Anger can be good. Hate can be good. Sometimes they're justified and the RIGHT thing to do is to embrace them, but western society doesn't acknowledge that. Kane gave excellent examples of utilizing negative qualities, so I won't give any here. Accept yourselves for your faults and be thankful for them just as much as you are thankful for your good qualities. Go back and listen to Kane's speech again, it's a very good life lesson. "Become honest with yourself. Become… free"
+ The final scene of 2011 on RAW was a very powerful one. Cena welling up was wonderfully done and shows how impactful Kane's speech was. I think you could see disappointment on his face as the Universe duel-chanted during Kane's speech, as they weren't really listening to it. I know I was, perhaps I'm just projecting onto Cena here.
+ This Cena/Kane feud has the potential to have a very profound impact. Characters like Kane and Abyss are what makes wrestling great, those characters actually have a lot of depth on any scale you put them. If this feud goes as I think it will, Cena will come out of it embracing his dark side, going into Wrestlemania as a liberated heel. That would be VERY compelling viewing in my eyes, as well as reach depths seen on shows like House and The Sopranos, which I think is something wrestling is missing (to be addressed in the next Landscape Blog)
- Why is R-Truth feuding with Miz? I would much rather see them continue to team up and beat Air Boom for the tag titles. I hope this is just a swerve to get them back together eventually, though I think that's just wishful thinking on my part.
- Why wasn't Ryder vs. Kidd a singles match w/ the girls at ringside, and given more time? A solid match up between the two would have been better for both. The same shenanigans could still be done with Nattie trying to interfere only to be taken out by Eve – except the actual match would be better, and it could perhaps make Kidd the next challenger for the US title. I know I'm all for that.
- If Henry is uncleared to compete – in storyline as well – why was he booked in a match? He didn't make it out, but if he's not cleared on SD then there's no reason he'd be cleared (even theoretically) on RAW.
- Miz looked REALLY weak, regardless of Truth. No call for that whatsoever.
+ Rhodes' promo work. His promo with Booker to open the show was made great only when he came out. His character is great and actually multi-dimensional unlike most others in the WWE today; his wording (just like Kane's) is well thought out - "A semi-literate buffoon of an announcer", brilliant; his timing and voice are spectacular. My heel character personally is partially based on Rhodes', that should show you how much I appreciate the man. He truly is a future star in this BIZNES right there (should be read in Booker's voice).
+ Goldust coming out out of character was very different, and the back and forth between all 3 was good. Best part is – Booker vs. Rhodes next week to settle the feud before Cody moves on to Goldust, to beat him as well. Rhodes is being pushed very wisely, according to the patterns I offered in the first Landau's Landscape, and in a way reminiscent of Mark Henry. He's getting the rub over people who wouldn't be hurt by the losses, and are (or bound to be) inactive anyway.
+ McIntyre is back on Smackdown!! Anyone who read my Landscape blogs knows I love McIntyre, and that I thought his move to RAW was the worst move in the 2011 draft. Now the wrong has been righted and I am for one very excited about Drew being back on the blue brand. And from the looks of his match, he's back to his old "like a boss" self with the delayed entrance, but I think he should've walked down to the ring slower. This storyline could reset Drew's negative momentum when he does win – maybe even a face turn (similar to MVP a couple of years back).
+ Hunico's low-rider… bicycle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwOIavellt4. This is a positive for now if it is in fact as much of a joke as it seems. I'm all for a parody of Mexican wrestlers coming out in vehicles, as it's WWE taking a playful jab at themselves. However, if this is to be taken seriously, you can go ahead and negativise this.
+ Sheamus saved his segment with Slater & Hornswoggle, which until he started speaking to Slater bombed
+ Orton took no back bumps. Seriously, go back and watch the match, he didn't fall flat on his back a single time, he always fell a bit to his side. Barrett didn't slam him once in the match, to avoid hurting the bad back. Even when Barrett drove him into the side of the ring he didn't go in back-first. Not only was this spectacularly covered up, it also tells me he was well aware of the injury and this match was a way to take him out to get Barrett over. Great booking.
- Cole is trying WAY too hard. He really should become a manager, everyone would benefit from that.
- Goldustin Rhodes really no sold the kick to the gut that lead to the Beautiful Disaster. He looked like a non-wrestler being abused, but he's not. Very weird and unbecoming of Goldust as a wrestler.
- Ted Dibiase's music doesn't fit his revamped character. It's a heel theme about money for a man who gave all his money away. This whole feud with Mahal is a waste.
- Mahal's generic foreigner gimmick is horrible. Revamp the character, please! It's time to pull the plug on the current incarnation of Mahal. He's a decent enough wrestler, but this gimmick does not work in 2011.
- Alicia Fox is way too sloppy for the push she's getting. She reverted to the scissors kick for a reason – the leg drop injured people. Well, the scissors kick on SD! was no better. The general forgetfulness of Divas' turns and storylines, along with the decisions of talent to push have to change for the divas to be taken seriously.
-Another Mexican character?! So now there's a stereotypical Mexican tag team and a non-stereotypical Mexican tag team… Make then a stable with Del Rio at the helm while he's out of the title picture… oh, and drop the stereotypes. Mostly the latter, really. I mean, I suppose it's another tag team, but is it really worth it if it's such generic "across the border" personalities?
- Way too many promos for the falls count anywhere match.
- I want to see Otunga wrestle a midcarder, to see how much he has improved since his last run. How many times can he go under Main event talent where we can't see what he's capable of?
- Again, most of the Sheamus/Hornswoggle/Slater segment bombed
So, this was the very first Landau Rundown. I wasn't going to name yet another feature here using my own name, but with this being a rundown of the good and bad of the week it was just too good a name to pass up. I may change it to just WNW's weekly rundown, pending reader feedback.
Speaking of reader feedback, I would like to receive all the constructive criticism I can handle about this as I really don't know how to go about these articles. Too long? Too short? Don't like the division into RAW and Smackdown (and WWE PPVs, when applicable)? Do you want a weekly paragraph to open the Blog or just a straight up rundown? A conclusion paragraph for each/both shows? More/Less referencing of the Landscape Blogs? Which day do you want to see this posted, from Friday to Sunday? Do you want posits and negs about site news as well? Any other criticism/advice? By all means – voice them via the comment section. I would love to hear your thoughts of this as a feature here on the site, and mostly how I could improve it. Absolutely anything that needs improving you can think of, don't be shy or too polite to voice. On the contrary, you're encouraged! (as long as it's said in a civil manner, befitting this site).