Long time no blog for me and wrestling. While I haven't had much I've wanted to talk about it, this hiatus had a lot more to do with finishing my Bachelor's, and finally self publishing a couple of my novels. Now that this is done I can once again concentrate on what I really like to hash about, professional wrestling. No wonder my first published novel features one.
So what has changed since I last blogged? Quite a bit actually. What are the highlights of the Pay Per Views from Survivor Series to the Elimination Chamber? Number one for me is how much fun The Miz as champion has become.
I was one of the people that thought it was too soon. I must now call myself a liar because I think The Miz is becoming a fine WWE Heel Champion. Now if we can only figure out a way to keep Alex Riley from constantly botching in ring work, and saying the lamest things, we could have an evil two some that would do the world proud. Honestly A-Ri could get away with the ultra lame scripting if he could manage to do the physical part of the job without such obvious screw-ups. Even people that don’t know what to look for can tell that something is not quite right with what they saw. While the 'internship' angle is a nice updated homage to the champ with a bodyguard days, it seems to have the exact same shelf life as all of those did then. End result is you have a great heel champ that seems to be being dragged down by his deadweight staff. Which within itself is pretty entertaining in an earned bad karma kind of way. It just seems to be a hard sell with Riley being the avatar.
I was pretty unhappy when Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble mostly because I'm still waiting for him to wow me. Yes I am one of those people who felt that he was not going to benefit from what is thought of as his current designation as the new JBL. While there are character differences between the two, it is difficult for the average fan to separate the similarities. We are human beings, and our main functionality is in pattern forming. From a wrestling family, nice car driving, self-promoting Mexican athlete should've pinged more like an obnoxious royal Eddie Guerrero, but instead it registers like 'JBL En Espanol'. This pattern is too difficult to ignore because of the timeliness of JBL’s departure to Del Rio's arrival. Quick fix I thought, he just has to establish himself as his own viable character. So I want more meat to the character before moving him into the title scene. I think putting the strap on an up and coming new star before he's actually ready to bear the weight of it has become a WWE staple, and the World Heavyweight Championship has earned a tarnished legacy for it.
****I have to interrupt this blog for a rant. If you would like to avoid this rant please continue to the other side of the * designations to continue this blog reading rant free. This is a rant that is of my own personal opinion, and should not be used as a legitimate reference when arguing this point to anyone. This is only a rant.****
I've spent the past few years disappointed at the path the World Heavyweight title has taken. This is a title who's legacy is over a 100 years old. In my mind it means more than the WWE Championship because it is what has enabled the other to exist. I know the story. Technically this is not that championship. When Jericho became the first Undisputed (GREAT book by the way), it was discontinued, and then blah, blah, blah, Triple H, blah blah, new title formed by brand, blah. Too me it’s PR mumbo jumbo to try and deny the history of it, and the history of wrestling before Vince McMahon. Ask any political campaign manager, the truth is in what it is perceived as, and not what people are being told it is. It still looks like the belt that Flair wore in WCW, and most fans still see the legacy behind it, and that cannot be denied. SO they want to change to look of it. It won't change what the older fans know and think of it. Honestly I don’t think it should be changed. Doing that is the same beast as trying to take the N word out of Huckleberry Finn because we don’t like to admit our nation’s ignorance. It doesn’t make it actually disappear. We are being naïve in assuming that letting people forget it is better for us all. It’s not when you consider that analogy about not knowing your history, and repeating it and all. This is not a chicken and egg analogy. You can’t philosophize origin when it has been given. This is now simply history. Bottom line is I'm personally picky about who should have it, and I've been upset with the WWE for using it from time to time as a 'superstar' builder. I think it is a title that should always be in the hands of an established superstar out of respect for its implied heritage. But I was also against discontinuing the Women's title in favor or the Diva's title. I understand the math. Like any ruler, the WWE would like to rebuild the world of wrestling in it's own image, but losing the history that was a part of making the company so successful isn't going to accomplish it. This is something that older companies are now discovering as many are trying to go back to their roots to try and foster some of the product loyalty they lost by trying to keep up with the times. Re-branding is a lie, and eventually everyone catches on.
****This concludes this rant. Please continue with your normally scheduled blog reading.****
I'm not sure what is next for Randy Orton, and I'm not sure anyone else is either. It seems from WM26 to now the hottest star in the business has been losing steam, and through no fault of his own. I think it's the need to push his face turn. Randy Orton is a heel, plain and simple, and no amount of built up "face" time is going to change that. Which is what I think is backfiring on the CM Punk-New Nexus angle. The storyline with him and Punk is missing something. In a way it looks like two heels facing off, and yet not. There is a definite lack of heat, which I suppose is the real issue. I don't believe that Randy really wants to hurt Punk. I don't believe Punk is really serious about getting to Randy. However I do admit that even I cringe when he refers to him as Randall Keith Orton. Ahh, gratuitous use of mommy krytonite is effective and annoying, but it doesn't inspire that sense of true hate that Punk has been able to inspire in the past. Unfortunately Punk and company are going to have to do something truly heinous to put them on the map as the 'more brutal and hardcore' version of the Nexus. Randy is always good, its just that right now it seems over blown because the other end is not meeting his intensity. So it comes off as battling a squirt gun with a water hose. People still need to believe that the match is somewhat even. We all know that Randy is willing to do whatever it takes. Now Punk and the New Nexus need to show him the same. Beating each other up in the back just doesn't cut it.
I could talk about H and Taker. I could talk about Rock and Cena. I could talk about Divas. I could even talk about how truly annoying Michael Cole has gotten. However I think that is all hashed. People are beating it into the ground. In the meantime something truly spectacular happened during the Smackdown! Elimination Chamber match, and no one has even spoken a peep about it. (That is a cheap Christian plug.) The match itself was wonderful; solid with big spots, and some really nice moments. When it got down to the final two and only Edge and Mysterio lay in the ring panting, I looked over at my best friend and said, "They're resting because they are about to GO!" Even with this expectation, I could not imagine how much GO! they had left in them. Gentlemen, if no one else told you, that was an amazing performance, and it has been years, literally, since I have seen such a magnificent culmination to a rough match. The Raw side tried to keep up, and normally it would've ranked as a valiant effort. Had I been them I would've cut my losses and tried for another pay per view to steal because you can't take what's already gone.
So I look to Wrestlemania and the way it is building with a resurgence of Tough Enough in the wings, and I feel good about the direction one of my favorite forms of entertainment is going. Hopefully people will begin to understand that Rock-Cena isn't the main event of WM27. Miz-Cena is the main event, and I've been cheering on the WWE champ as he has been petulantly trying to remind everyone of that simple fact. I hope Del Rio can calm down his nerves, and actually get through the Mania match with Edge with a good showing proving me wrong about it being too soon. However his showing on Smackdown! this past week makes me real nervous for the current World Heavyweight champ. Cody is showing us visions of heel greatness, and I highly anticipate the culmination of his feud with Rey Mysterio. Hopefully the New Nexus can truly horrify before April and give the Orton-Punk match the teeth it's currently missing. Maybe we'll all get that knockout that Michael Cole deserves for actually being classless enough to reference Jerry Lawler's mother for cheap heat, may she rest in peace. Oh, has anyone put an APB out on Ted DiBiase Jr., just wondering? And 'Taker and H will be, well 'Taker and H. We all know what it means, and there is no need to elaborate.
See you on the other side of Atlanta.