It isn't hard to understand why this week's rundown is early - there are no more big shows left for WWE for this week. Anyway, this is the 2nd PPV edition of the rundown, and so I bring you my predictions beforehand.
CM Punk –pretty obvious here, Punk can't possibly lose the title right before 'Mania, when he has to face Jericho for it in a dream match
Wade Barrett – Probably the most unpredictable pick, and a dark horse, but there is simple reasoning here – Barrett vs. Sheamus would draw more and has more to build on than Sheamus vs. Bryan. Bryan will get his place on the card, I wouldn't worry about that.
Cena – Can't possibly lose before 'Mania, and this feud can't possibly end in Kane's triumph.
Beth Phoenix – She needs the title to face the returning Kharma
Had I went the safe route I would've gotten everything right. Oh, well. The PPV itself was terribly lackluster, With no match holding much of my interest. More below.
And now, onto the actual article:
Feel free to do your own rundown via the comment section in the future (writing little notes as you watch the shows could be very engaging and fun – give it a try and tell us via the comment section what you wound up with)
A reminder: This blog reflects MY views, and my views alone. It is by no means objective. If you disagree – which is encouraged – feel free to voice your opinion (in a civil manner) in the comments section. Let's get some healthy debates going. Also, I am always open to constructive criticism of the writing format, phrasing, etc.
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Wrestling News World Weekly Rundown. This is your feature where you can read my thoughts of the week that was in professional wrestling – most specifically WWE (as these will be a lot longer, and more negative if I wrote up… or at all watched Impact Wrestling). So let's get to the action with the Constants:
+ Daniel Bryan, Drew McIntyre, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Wade Barrett are the future of WWE – they are all total packages, both in the ring and on the mic.
+ Kane's gimmick; as you've probably noticed, every promo the resurrected Kane has given so far has been given a correlating psychological analysis of human nature by me. Glenn Jacobs is a really intelligent person, and I am sure those correlations are no accident.
+ Brodus Clay's character, when they don't just waste time with it.
+ Big Show's shuffle side kicks.
+ AJ, forever and always. This also leads nicely into:
- Matt "The Choice" Andrews. It's a shame, really. I could like Matt… If only he'd leave AJ alone.
- Ted DiBiase's theme. He's face for God's sake!
- Stereotypical foreigner gimmicks. They are distasteful and dated.
- The way announcing currently is in the WWE. That means random jabs at Cole and Booker T are implied when not said outright (but this is not limited to Cole and Booker – it's the whole way announcing is handled. For example, King's treatment of the divas is borderline sexual harassment – and he's a face!).
- Aksana's cliché role that doesn't seem to be really going anywhere.
- "The Royal Rumble winner gets to main event Wrestlemania" is a fallacy, and has been this way for several years now. For the past 5 or so years (6 if we include this year – as no matter who is champion, Sheamus will NOT main event Wrestlemania, but Rock vs. Cena will), the winner of the Rumble has rarely actually main evented 'Mania. See the Jan 21st Rundown for a detailed look at the how many winners in the past seven years main evented 'Mania (hint: 1).
- the way Divas are handled. Unless I state otherwise for a particular week know that I am very much displeased with the Divas' division in the WWE.
- The Great Khali. 'nuff said
–Counter for consecutive weeks Swagger hasn't had a match on RAW: 4
? Drew McIntyre's storyline. This will likely change very soon when/if we see where it goes. This week though, made it lean towards the Neg side of things. We'll see where it goes next week.
And with that out of the way, let's get to this week's Posits!
+ The opening promo shows how WWE does things right – for 3 consecutive PPVs they hype and build to WrestleMania as the biggest extravagance of them all. This is something that is missing from Bound For Glory in TNA, the hype and feel 'Mania has as the biggest show there is. Wrestlemania was hyped throughout the show, and rightly so.
+ How many bumps on the steel did both Ziggler and Kofi take?!
+ I really liked the developmental talent appearing in John Cena's video.
+ Tamina vs. Beth was a great Divas' match. I would just like to point out that Tamina is doing a lot very right – most notably SETTING HER OPPONENT UP FOR A SPLASH, INSTEAD OF LETTING THEM SET THEMSELVES UP. I've noticed it a while back, but it was very noticeable in her match with Beth. She gave the Samoan Drop so that Beth would be perfectly set up for the Splash, which made the whole match beautiful. Not only that but it had a great story, for the relatively low amount of time it was given. In fact, it was better (considering the time it had) than many male matches. Every diva on the roster – take notice! THIS is how you work a match, THIS is how you tell a story without shouting needlessly, THIS is how you sell the Glam Slam effectively (without hesitating too long in the air)
+ "He's driving a 1985 Excalibur convertible" –"He couldn't afford a new one?"
+ Christian and Del Rio are back just in time for the build to WrestleMania
+ If Rhodes and Barrett ever want to take a break from… you know, main eventing, and reincarnate the tag division, I'll be all for it.
+ Rhodes' Moonsault! It's been a while since we've seen it last, but it was AWESOME! Not to mention his dual Disaster kicks to Big Show. In my eyes, Rhodes was the star of the Smackdown Chamber – not that that's saying much (see Negs)
+ Khali's time in the chamber was just right. But one has to wonder – if Christian is ready, why didn't they place him in there instead?
+ First thing's first: Good to see Henry is well (hopefully he is and isn't fighting through injury again). But regardless, the storyline between the RAW and SD! GMs is interesting.
+ Kofi and Truth are a team I would like to see in the tag division – they could very easily pull off an entertaining team.
+ Cena's promo was absolutely amazing. Eve probably came out too soon in the opener, but this was absolutely worth it. He probably went shoot for some of it, but that's the beauty of it; Cena just proved he isn't any lesser than Punk in promo work, as far as I'm concerned, not that I didn't know that prior to the promo. And this, I guess, is where Kane got to Cena in a good way – he unleashed some really condensed fury on RAW
+ I liked Santino coming out with an arm tape. It really sells the LeBell Lock.
+ FINALLY CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan gets proper billing.
+ Bryan's opening promo was brilliant, like he has been doing constantly lately. And Bryan's path was oddly similar to Miz's. I noticed it actually quite a long time ago, when Bryan was US champion. He won the title from Miz, and Miz ended up winning the WWE title with his Money in the Bank briefcase on a RAW two PPVs prior to the Rumble (very close to Bryan's victory), and defended his title at Wrestlemania. So he went from US Champion to MITBLM winner to WWE Champion. Bryan, on the other hand… went from US Champion to MITBLM winner to WWE (WH) Champion. So Bryan did, in fact, follow in Miz's footsteps.
+ At least the US Champion gets TV time on Smackdown, I suppose…
+ Speaking of Swagger, his match with Ziggler against Kofi and R-Truth was well booked for a couple of reasons: 1. Ziggler used a thumb to the eye to beat Kofi, just like Jericho did a couple of weeks ago. This is subtle, but it furthers Jericho's claim to plagiarism. 2. Having Ziggler & Swagger beat Kofi & R-Truth, who have a victory over The Colonz makes the tag division suddenly interesting… Triple threat tag match, perhaps?
+ I liked Punk addressing his past gimmick in his backstage interview regarding Bryan.
+ "I have 'till 5, referee" is back, and this time on the grand stage of WWE! I'm pretty sure the crowd chanted "Danielson" right after it.
Now - no more Mr. Nice Guy (Landau). It's time fore the Negs!
- This isn't so much for the chamber as it is some of the audience members. I knew way ahead of time Punk was going to start his match, and had no doubt he'd win. I don't have a problem with that, that's how you book a face of the company. What I do have a problem with is the same people who harp on Cena's overcoming the odds don't do so to Punk, even though Cena is no lesser wrestler. It's cooler to hate on Cena, even when the reason you do has nothing to do with the man himself – and that's evident with Punk's reign, Orton's face turn and any other face in the past 5 years that has been elevated to top face status – 5 moves of doom & overcoming the odds are part of the job.
- This may be a nitpick, but Justin Roberts announcing Punk as "the current WWE champion" sort of devalues the title. The old school "reigning and defending" is how I think treating the champions should have remained, instead of just an afterthought "oh, he's champion now".
- I do not know whether Jericho's injury is legit, but it looked nasty enough. I just hope he'll be OK.
- WHY did Beth enter her match first?! She is the champion!
- Why does the flatulence gimmick still exist? Why is Long able to book US title matches on the fly? Why are title matches booked on the fly in the first place? It devalues the title. Why is that done in the same segment as Natalya farting? And after Swagger got zero TV time since winning the title? Why does all that happen AFTER both World title Elimination Chambers? For that matter – Why is Kane vs. Cena the main event? To warm the audience up to Cena main eventing a PPV without the WWE title being involved? Oh, so many questions with no logical answers…
- Is WWE kidding us?! We SAW there was no driver in the ambulance, how did it drive off?!
- The show had no great matches, which is saying something when you have TWO Elimination Chamber matches. Jericho's elimination really hindered his match, and Santino being the last face in the Smackdown Chamber made the result very obvious (though they did make a good job at playing Santino's chance up)
- "As the angles turn" continues tonight – The WWE telenovela which depicts Eve as the bad girl, stirring things up. (Bad WWE! Sta… no, stay! That is a very bad thing you did!)
- So the 10 participants in the Battle Royal are the 5 non-winners from each Chamber? Very original… Why not Del Rio? Christian? Mark Henry? Drew McIntyre (you knew I had to go there)? Put 2 of those guys in instead of Khali and Santino. And yes, that is a double standard on my part about Drew as he doesn't seem any more manacing than Santino. But who's fault is that? WWE's. And how do you fix that? Let him stay in this match until the final four. Also give him victories from time to time. You know what? Keep Santino in, he's earned it, being the last eliminated in the chamber. What has Khali done to earn being in this match? He hasn't even won any match to qualify into the Chamber, and was eliminated 15 seconds in. Replace him with one of the above names, and him alone.
- McIntyre's storyline is taking a dark, DARK turn. He keeps losing with seemingly nothing for him to do.
- Lillian calling the entrance of Otunga and Laurinaitis was absolutely embarrassing.
- What the hell is up with those "Face Off" promos in the middle of Smackdown?!
- There were way too many technical difficulties on the show. Does WWE not know how to run a live show when it's on Tuesday?
- In the fantastic main event, it made no sense for Laurinaitis to root for Bryan as Long was on Punk's side, considering the difference in brands. Face heel division may stand as it may, that still made no sense. A face can cheer the heel in this scenario, and vice versa. The absurdity of the situation can be easily pointed out in the completely serious "your guy won" argument to end the show.
And all that's left is the Queschies:
? Elimination Chamber was the first PPV in a while where the WHC got better billing than the WWE title on the card. Writing this before the end of the night: I wonder why (as RAW has WAY more Star Power – I would predict a return is in store – Mysterio, Christian or both.)
? wait… Khali weighs in at 347 pounds now?! When did that happen?!
? What was up with Undertaker's speech in his promo? He stumbled over his words a bit too much. He seemed to have run out of things to say very quickly. The segment did pick up when Triple H came out, though. Finally, I didn't like Triple H caving in tonight, it didn't seem logical. The HIAC stipulation, however, makes the match very interesting. I would've preferred a 1 on 1 match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest ref, but I suppose that'll do as well.
? Rhodes vs. Show… Interesting. We'll see where it goes.
? Brown vs. Punk is… an angle? The amount of media WWE gives it, and Brown mentioning other wrestlers is a giveaway.
? Well, the Smackdown main event didn't do it for me quite frankly. It was a good match, but the constant stoppage, while great if you want to book them evenly, made it so the match would never go to 5th gear, peaking at 3rd or 4th (and as a result there was, for example, not a single GTS attempt in the whole match). This reminds me of AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels from a couple of months ago where Daniels was concussed and the gear-switching spot was never done clean. They peaked at 4th, but had to finish the match as if they hit peak and hit their finishers in an inorganic way. This was present here as well, but this time on purpose. While it advanced the storylines, it made the match less enjoyable. And it's a shame, as it was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the year, if allowed to climax. Furthermore, there is the topic of Punk's inconsistent selling of the arm. I get that in such a long period of time you cannot sell your arm 100% of it, but it seemed like an on-again-off-again relationship between Punk and his Arm (no masturbatory joke intended), which is NEVER the route you want to go.
This week's theme seems to be disappointment – at least for me, as I have no doubt in my mind most of you will disagree. The battle Royal to end RAW didn't make a lot of sense and I've mentioned it in the battle royal to determine the last Smackdown Chamber entrant last week. There seems to be a disproportion between the Rumble and corresponding battle royals/Chamber. Then, you've had lackluster work on SD! – barring the main event. But even the main event, while good, did not live up to my expectations, mostly because of the way it was booked which caused it to go a few steps back every time it started to pick up steam.