For various reasons I haven't watched the WWE for years, but have kept up with developments via your wonderful site. I was at a loose end this weekend, and seeing as it was free in the UK I watched Over The Limit. The Punk -Bryan battle was everything I had hoped, and clearly showed the true talents of these guys who I had never seen take each other on. Why after all that did the WWE choose to finish the PPV with a comedy bout between a non-active wrestler and a guy who seemed to more keen on going for laughs then getting involved in actual wrestling? The commentary teams attempts to ramp up the humor were also less than inspiring. Just what were they thinking???
Vince McMahon thinks that their storytelling trumps all. He thought that Big Show coming out to help John Laurinaitis was the kind of thing that would create a buzz. I am with you, I don't get it either. That ring is in the center of the building for a reason, and that is for guys to wrestle in it, not do bad theater.
Don't you think it's time for Jerry Lawler to leave the announce-booth (one could make a case for Booker's immediate termination as well)? To me, the "he only does what he's told to do"-argument just doesn't count anymore. Taz, JBL and Striker worked for the same guy while doing color commentary and they didn't flat-out suck as Lawler does. From the lame fat-jokes about Vickie Guerrero (which are just ridiculous if you look at her and then at Lawler's little beer-belly) to the sheer disinterest for most of the matches: In my opinion, he just doesn't work as the color-man anymore and really ruins the psychology of many matches with his seemingly bored comments and silly, unfunny jokes. A match like Bryan vs. Punk just shouldn't be commentated by over-challenged people like Lawler, Cole and Booker. I personally just do not get it: They have Matthews, Striker, Stanford, Regal and for god's sake, Jim Ross under contract and they manage to put the by far worst trio possible behind the booth! What are your thoughts on that? Am I alone with that opinion?
When he plays it straight, Lawler is really really good. When he gets caught up with bad jokes and bickering he isn't. But the argument you don't want to accept is indeed the truth. He does what Vince McMahon wants, so the blame needs to go there for the most part. Guys who don't play into that, like Mick Foley, Taz and Striker, get more yelling in their headset. Lawler knows that and acts accordingly.
The past 4 PPVs (minus Royal Rumble) the main event have been without the WWE nor World Heavyweight Championship, but have been headlined all by Cena. Does this devalue the championships, more importantly WWE Title? I understand Mania & Extreme Rules were mainly drawn from Cena-Rock & Cena-Lesnar, but Punk have been involved in maybe 2 small segments max & without any main event spot on Raw either since around Royal Rumble.
I think it's OK to do it for an epic match like Rock-Cena or Lesnar-Cena, but when you put Cena-Laurinaitis on last, yes I think it clearly shows what WWE thinks matters the most, and that is John Cena. He matters more than either title and that is just not a good thing for the company. They should have closed with Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk. They had an amazing match and the fans would have been left with that as their lasting impression. Instead, they were left with a bad TV angle. It's crazy to me.
In a recent Q and A, you mentioned how the attitude era was so great because they had 5-6 solid top stars at its peak. Today, we have Cena, and to a lesser extent Orton. Even though Sheamus, Mark Henry, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Christian, Miz, And Del Rio have all held a top title in the last year or so, I suspect (and agree with) that they are constantly taking a back seat to other “top” stars. It seems that in addition to the names mentioned, we have a wide range of stars (Big Show, Kane, Ziggler, Swagger, Jericho, R-Truth, Kofi) who can definitely be booked differently to have a good mix a superstars at the top of the program. Are you suggesting that any Cena storylines that do not include one of the top titles be dropped to the midcard in order to take advantage of this situation?
I am saying that unless other guys are booked as being on Cena's level, fans will never accept that as being on his level. Like at Over The Limit, Cena's match could have gone on third from the top. It should have. Instead, it closed out the show. That told the fans that a comedy garbage match mattered more than both Titles. It's insane!
Thinking about the Attitude Era it seems to me that Vince has forgotten the key elements of it which led to such a successful period, financially and product-wise: 1) several guys at the top, any of whom could be the champion; 2) a tag division which typically put on good to great matches and which groomed the young talent into future singles stars or even top guys (e.g. Edge & Jeff Hardy); 3) a strong mid-card talent pool and 4) announcing that enhanced the characters and their stories, not the announcers themselves. Your thoughts?
I think you made an excellent point.
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