*Disclaimer: all pictures used throughout are utilized for the purpose of criticism and entertainment*
How much truth can a man stand? That’s not a question I want you to really answer, it’s rhetorical in your case, reader. It’s also a lyric to a rather quirky song of the same name. I’ll answer, however, and say, “Er… somewhere in the vicinity of a little bit and too damn much”. See, I only acknowledge so many truths right now, in my 24 years and one month of life. One of these truths is that The Walking Dead really isn’t all that amazing a show. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but as whole, the episodes are usually C+ to B quality in my opinion. Another truth: the two best episodes of the show (season one, episode one; season three, episode twelve) owe virtually ALL that status as “best” to one man: Lennie James, who plays Morgan Jones. Another truth: these brilliant performances are likely why he’s starring in the new AMC show Low Winter Sun.
Yes, truths are fun. Here’s one that’s directly related to the WWE: this year’s Summerslam is shaping up to be Wrestlemania: Summer Edition. And that’s saying something. With the white hot intensity of the Bryan v. Cena feud and the reintroduction of fire in a match, I see few people even ABLE to complain about the card. But what’s in a card? What do you think will happen? Frankly I don’t care: here’s what I think will happen though, and if you agree, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s cool too. I’ll just feel all types of special that you cared enough to read.
Pre-Show: Rob Van Dam vs. Dean Ambrose (c) for the United States Championship
Right off the back, a big match. For the casual fan, this is due to be a treat beyond treats. For the indie fan, this is a dream match. For people like us at L.E.W.D., this is two meals at the Varsity, a fresh roll of toilet paper and a second copy of Batman: Hush. Translation: epic.
It’s no secret that Swatkowski and Good are two tremendous talents, and the idea of them doing battle is terrific, so the question isn’t whether or not it’ll be a good (no pun intended) match, but rather why put such a match in the pre-show? Well, I wish I could tell you. So I will.
Fact is we have to remember one thing: RVD is a part-timer. That’s not to say that he shouldn’t hold a belt or have a feud, however. He’s a 42 year old man who is noticeably slower than he was in his ECW/WWE prime, or even in his tenure with TNA (earlier on), but he is more than capable of putting on a great match and putting over good talent. Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley (Jonathan Good)) need something to maintain some relevance as the focus on the Shield has taken a backseat to the Wyatt Family, and a bout with RVD is just what he needs.
There’s something else that’s special about this match: the title that’s on the line. You can argue that the United States Championship is the spiritual successor of sorts to the ECW Championship, the belt that Rob Van Dam is almost notorious for. Should he win come Sunday, he’ll have come full circle, and the series he and Ambrose can put on could result in a strong push for the unofficial leader of the mercenary group.
As for predictions, I see RVD winning, but just barely. Frankly it doesn’t matter who wins: WE win because it’s sure to be a damn fine match.
Natalya (with the Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella (with Eva Marie and Nikki Bella)
Say what you will about Total Divas: the show is a hit. I like it. Maybe you do too. If anything I gained a new respect for most of the Divas, save for Natalya. I’ve always significantly respected Natalya. With the canon of the show, Natalya plays the role of the older sister who both does all she can to uplift her younger siblings and yet can’t get a break of her own to really shine. The way she is on the show, you can’t help but feel for her. Hell, even ?uestlove was feeling for her, and that man has better things to do than watch TV, like work on the new Roots album, or find a barber.
No hate, ?uest: I wanna fro like you when I grow up. Anywho, part of me is surprised that it’s Brie Bella vs. Natalya as opposed to Nikki. Nikki just comes across as more of a bitch, but what I anticipate is a fan favorite crowd response for Nattie as well as her carrying Brie through a lot of the match. The Bellas are a decent enough pair of wrestlers, I suppose, but Natalya is a Hart: she’s got it in her blood, and I think she’s finally getting that push into being a contender for the title. We can only hope. As much as I love seeing AJ
with those pigtails and short shorts, er, I mean with that belt, Natalya would bring some class to it, and straight laced prestige.
My prediction: Natalya wins via submission. Don’t ask why.
Also, this serves as an extension of the show. I find it harder and harder to say it breaks kayfabe, really. It’s just as scripted as RAW or SmackDown! as far as I can tell. That’s why the other four are there. On another note, I can’t stand Eva Marie. But I respect her. Because she called out Jerry Lawler for looking at her a certain way and smacked him. God bless you, unnatural red head. God bless you.
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
First and foremost, shout out to that guy on Smackdown a week ago who screamed “AMY SCHUMER!” when Dolph Ziggler mentioned ex-girlfriends. I haven’t laughed so hard at an ad-lib since someone tried to explain that Control was Big Sean’s song. HA! BWAHAHAHAHA! That liar…
What we have here is your standard mixed tag match, and all the parties involved have one thing in common: AJ Lee. Still. Hard to imagine but she’s been in the forefront of a major story one way or another for months, and I dare say her rise from nothing to something has been as dynamic as Daniel Bryan’s. Even now we have a sick kind of love (sic) angle shy of a Nujabes series. Dolph is an ex. Big E is a wild card. Kaitlyn is a lesbian in fan fiction. And AJ is just soaking up everything, playing the narcissistic woman with zero self-esteem, justifying her existence with that belt and the men she’s ran though (or should I say who’ve ran through HER? HIYO!).
But as a whole, I struggle to see the necessity of this match outside of putting together two feuds that could be split apart. We have AJ and Kaitlyn still, but that’s lost a lot of focus and relevance. Sure, it’s entertaining, but Kaitlyn is fighting for revenge and AJ is just fighting, playing the role of defense. With Dolph and Big E, it’s an odd kind of mentor vs. student thing, but Big E’s role as AJ’s friend/Ziggler’s heavy has never been expounded upon outside of a hatred for Ziggler and a “I love her, I love her not” thing with AJ. Sure, she’s cute, almost adorable, certainly desirable, but Big E himself still stands as little more than a big black guy with personality and a borderline painful-looking finisher.
I’m not even sure what CAN be resolved with this match outside of a decent showing. All four of them are impressive enough in the ring, so if nothing else it’ll be a solid exhibition, but as Bruce Lee said:
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire match
Ooh baby, when’s the last time we have a match involving everyone’s favorite element fire?!
Let me wipe the drool from my mouth right quick. Yes, the Devil’s Favorite Demon is taking on the Devourer of Worlds in a Ring of Fire match. What does this mean? It means the ring will be surrounded by fire, and the two will do battle. As far as gimmicks go, this is the closest the WWE has gotten to blatant sacrilege in a while, and praise Jebus the Jew for that! We need blatant sacrilege every once in a while, keeps up on our toes, keeps us focused. The match itself is an extension of the still more or less undefined mugging that the Wyatts committed on Kane way back when, and this match likely serves as a way for Kane to lose his match, join the cult and give the Undertaker someone to challenge in due time, all the while reintroducing the dark, violent man that has been Kane on various occasions in the past.
But here’s the thing: this is a very “adult” storyline, if you can catch my meaning. Not for the violence or the imagery or anything but because of the symbolism. I compare it, ironically enough, to the song Hellfire from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Disney version. As far as Disney songs go, it broke EVERY rule. The song featured a judge (judge for the Disney movie, archdeacon for the traditional tale) who was essentially singing about a gypsy girl he was in lust with. Lust in a Disney movie? Not blatantly! They usually do that in a subtle manner.
But lust, religious imagery, the mea culpa, fire, DEATH, the song covered it all. It wasn’t just about his lust, or how evil the woman MADE him as opposed to how evil he himself was, but how he was asking God to either make the woman (kid by our standards, but this was 1400s) his, or give her up to the flame (Hell), all while begging for mercy for himself AND her. It was deep, and frankly the sequence alone in the film was worth the price of admission. Don’t let your kids see it though: they WILL be scared and confused. But since I endorse scaring and confusing kids…
Sorry, I got a bit off topic. I just enjoy that sequence. As far as Kane and Bray go, it’ll be a welcome reintroduction to the man we once called Husky Harris, and I see him winning, thus dragging Kane into the Wyatt Family. And yes, I WILL be playing this awesome song if Wyatt embraces Kane as a new disciple.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
You can consider this a prequel for a World Heavyweight Championship match in a near future PPV. And you can also be mad at the WWE for not being wholly consistent with Cody’s character. At first he came across as a petty, whiny, sore loser who was wholly unjustified in how he was treating Sandow and his briefcase. After last week, he ADMITTED that he was a petty, whiny, sore loser who was wholly unjustified in how he was treating Sandow and his briefcase, and to add insult to that he admitted that he would have done the same thing to Sandow if he was in his position.
You may wonder why I have an issue with this. Simple: after admitting something like he did, his role in attacking Sandow becomes moot. The idea of Rhodes taking the briefcase is ridiculous, and the notion of Sandow fighting Rhodes first and THEN cashing in adds filler, not content, to Sandow’s first World Heavyweight Championship reign. Because he WILL win it. It’s written in the stars, or at the very least MY stars.
The saving grace is the match itself come Summerslam, which will be a good one, and will almost certainly result in a Rhodes win. Why? Just because. If Sandow wins, which I doubt, the ultimate outcome will remain the same, and I’ll get to it in a little while.
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship
Let’s address the elephant in the room right now: this match is irrelevant. Yes, irrelevant. Completely and utterly. Never mind my melancholy towards Del Rio or my disinterest with Christian: this match is little more than the equivalent of a place holder for the future title match between the above two. Now, from a pure wrestling standpoint, this will be a MONSTER. Seriously, it’ll be beautiful to watch. Christian and Del Rio are two of the most gifted wrestling talents in the WWE, but one is nearing the end of his career I think and the other is… Del Rio.
Nothing more to say about it. The belt? Who cares? It’s the World Heavyweight Championship: it hasn’t had meaning for a while, and it’ll stay that way even after Del Rio wins. Yes, I call Del Rio winning. But therein lies that “ultimate outcome” I mentioned in the Rhodes v. Sandow match. So long as Sandow can MOVE after that match, win or lose, and they do battle BEFORE Christian and Del Rio, I see him cashing in during the PPV. Sandow will be loved as a hated fellow, Rhodes will be looked at as the man to take the belt from him, and MAYBE Del Rio will be thrown into a storyline that’ll make him worth a damn.
We can only hope.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman (and likely Curtis Axel))
The Best vs. the Beast. How poetic. How appropriate. Or IS it? Perhaps another indie favorite is making a solid claim as being “the best”. But I digress. It doesn’t matter who is the best. Trying to determine who is stands as a fruitless test. A worrisome quest. In choosing one you neglect the rest.
I apologize: I was having fun at your “This guy is SO corny” expression’s expense. The story is simple here: CM Punk wants revenge on Heyman. Heyman chose Lesnar as his champion. Punk turned one-track minded and stayed focused on trying to hurt Heyman. Lesnar introduced Punk to a special variation of the F5 I refer to as the F.Y.L. F5, F.Y.L. standing for “f*** yo life”.
Honestly I think Lesnar really tries to hurt people in that ring. Good for our visceral nature but bad for business. In any case, this will probably be the second best match on the card, from both an in-ring perspective and a psychological perspective. Punk is fighting like a man possessed and Lesnar is in his zone, doing what he does best: hurting people. We like that. We like it when Lesnar hurts people. You hear that, WWE? Resign Shannon Moore!
So here’s the truth regarding me: as fun as this match will be – and it WILL be fun – my only question is “What now?”. I’m not sure who is set to win, but I’m leaning more towards Punk, because I don’t see HOW this story can progress from this point. Including Axel is odd, but he’s the third Heyman Guy, and he’ll likely have a role, but it doesn’t answer my only question.
I’m leaning toward Punk winning, beating Lesnar and Axel senseless, then turning his attention to Heyman, and afterwards getting back into the title hunt. As I was telling the Right Reverend Showtime the other day, I have a feeling the CM Punk who looked at the new WWE Championship belt and said, “I want THAT one” would be VERY welcome once this feud was over. And it could culminate in my dream main event for Wrestlemania XXX. Ah, dreaming…
Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena (c) for the WWE Championship (with Triple H as Guest Referee)
Here it is. The big one. The granddaddy of matches this Sunday. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena. What can I say that hasn’t in some way already been said? It’s the wrestler’s wrestler vs. the sports entertainer’s superman. We’ve seen promo after promo, funny shirts, a few puns, even a brief appearance by Heel Cena (also known as Jerk Cena, also known as the Dick) and now we even have Triple H as the guest ref.
Why? Because. Because why? You’re asking too many questions. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like him being a part of the match, but with McMahon being a part of the Bryan v. Barrett match on SmackDown! the ref position is “justified”. Like I’ve said, and will say in a piece that’ll probably be up just before the PPV starts, the McMahon power struggle is a grand storyline that’ll likely end with McMahon being ejected from being the primary figurehead seen on TV. Don’t ask me about it here, wait until the other piece comes up.
As for the match, it’s going to be interesting. Note: interesting. Good? Yes. Great? Likely. Epic? Perhaps. Five stars? Remains to be seen. At the end of the day we have a man who stands as today’s Hogan and a man who would shine the best against someone like Kurt Angle, or the man with no name himself, Chris Benoit. That triple threat match would have been incredible. But c’est la vie: it’s impossible now. Stupid Angle drinking and getting caught…
Now, let’s address some wild cards. First: Randy Orton. I don’t know WHY they’re making him out to be this boogeyman, but that’s all he is right now. He’s constantly reminding Bryan and Cena that he’s there, and in true buzzard fashion he WILL likely swoop in on the victor when they’re out, and… lose. Well no, that’s not quite right. I’ll get to that later.
Second: Wade Barrett. Remember the McMahon power struggle story and how Vince said he didn’t want Cena OR Bryan to hold the belt. His vision of a Superstar isn’t Orton either though: he’s too lean. But who stands as big, muscular, clean cut and constantly angry? Wade Barrett. Who MIGHT be finally getting his chance to shine. The hell with a title, I’m happy to just see him pursue it actively. As I’ve said: I think he’s the most deserving guy on the roster for a title opportunity/run.
Finally, who I see winning. This… is a hard one. There’s what I WANT to happen, what I THINK will happen and what I think is BEST. They aren’t all the same. What I THINK will happen is John Cena winning via help from McMahon, but it’s a ludicrous notion too. It would be further heel momentum for McMahon, confusion for Cena who wouldn’t accept anything like assistance (see: Money in the Bank 2011), and even MORE support for Bryan, who is already dazzling hot (you see what I did there?) as it is. But what I THINK will happen means little, because I don’t have much faith in that.
What I WANT to happen is even more ludicrous. I want Bryan to be the first one to make Cena tap. Only two people in the history of the WWE come to mind when it comes to never tapping out: Hogan and Cena, but there is a third. Cena would be embarrassed beyond belief, Bryan would be champ, Orton would attempt to cash in AND Bryan would make Orton the second person to cash in AND lose. That would make me happier than some quality alone time with Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman on a deserted island.
I take that back: that would NOT make me happier than some quality alone time with Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman on a deserted island, but it would come about as close as… forty miles. Nautical miles. On foot.
Then, there’s what I think would be BEST. And this is subjective, I have no problem saying it. Daniel would win, and he’d force Cena into a position that the third was in. Cena wouldn’t tap: he’d pass out. Cena would pull a Stone Cold Steve Austin. Daniel would get his props, Cena would maintain his respect, and Orton… would stay in the shadows. He’d strike later, on another day, at another PPV, and be a sneaky son of a bitch as a feud between Barrett and Bryan took the spotlight and Cena took some time off. That would be fun too.
Well, loyal random interwebz vagabond, those are my predictions and whatnot. Hope you enjoy the PPV as much as I think I’m going to. Sleep tight. Blee.
As it currently stands the most popular thing to do is bash any and everything produced by WWE regardless of what the end product looks like. Makes me reminisce about the days when it wasn’t popular to speak ill of TNA and their pre-Bruce Prichard booking. Nevertheless Monday’s episode of RAW provided the haters with all the ammunition they needed to have a spectacular time.
On the other side of the coin, it’s funny that for once in a long time I was actually entertained by what has been (for me at least) a typically dull three hour sports entertainment cavalcade. No matter how you look at it, however, this show contained something for everyone; whether you bashed the show, complained about not watching it while watching it, or remained engaged from 8 – 11:03 PM, you were talking or tweeting or texting about the show. That, much to the chagrin of the company’s detractors, is a good thing.
For what it’s worth RAW was made all the more interesting by two things: the wrestling and the live crowd. Everything in between, ranging from the mundane or nonexistent storyline progression to the highly entertaining segments, pointed back to the strength of the in-ring action and riding the momentum from an energetic crowd.
We shouldn’t be so quick to shake a stick at those two factors, one of which has been a major criticism of the WWE’s product for sometime now. Fans clamoring for more “wrestling” in WWE matches have quietly ignored the reality that the three hour format lends itself to allowing for longer, more in-depth wrestling and psychology in matches of some importance to the bigger picture. Longer matches then give way to building solid feuds and rivalries (a point that Mr. Gammon brought up), as opposed to having two guys face each other randomly because they haven’t done so before and for the sake of it being “different” with no rhyme or reason other than being “different.”
An immature fan, hell bent on being angry for the sake of being angry, would argue that seeing the same match-ups over and over again are pointless and boring. It could be argued that Sunday night’s 4,000th match between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels at TNA’s Final Resolution proves that immature perspective to be a) silly and b) chock full of bias. I highly doubt that most fans yearned to see John Cena and Brodus Clay tear it up in the main event match, so what’s the real reason behind disliking recycled matches?
That stuff aside, this go-home episode of RAW did very little for me to build excitement for this Sunday’s TLC pay per view; but on the flip side it didn’t dilute my interest in watching the pay per view, especially my desire to see The Shield’s official wrestling debut against Team Hell No and Ryback. I’m sure there are thousands of fans who disagree with that perspective.
Here’s what stood out in the show for me:
- No Muppets were filmed in the making of this show. Are you frickin’ happy now?
- Cody’s Mustache + The Miz’s Face Turn = Unintentional Gold
- Antonio Cesaro continues to impress
- Colt Cabana was backstage
- The Shield finally attacks John Cena…THANK. YOU. JBL.
Yesterday before the show I crafted a lengthy piece about the Muppets serving as Social Ambassadors for RAW. I must begrudgingly admit that I didn’t consider the fact that the fuzzy and fun-loving creatures from Jim Henson’s Monster Workshop wouldn’t actually be featured on the show as Social Ambassadors; rather they’d simply tweet here and there about the show, perhaps even be mentioned here and there on the live broadcast.
If you watched the show you could’ve probably counted on one hand the number of times the Muppets were mentioned by Jerry Lawler and Mike Cole. So in the long run it was hilarious to have wasted an entire blog post on defending stars that didn’t even appear on the show. What’s even more tickling is the fact that some fans were pissed off at something that never manifested on the show. As fans we really have to start picking and choosing our battles.
Now the Muppets will be featured on the Tribute to the Troops show coming up in a few days, but it’d be way more ridiculous to see people get pissed off at a variety show done for those brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. If you don’t like Flo Rida, Kid Rock, the Muppets or matches that have very little to do with current storylines, then piss off because the show wasn’t designed for you anyway.
Cody Rhodes returned to action last night after suffering an injury one month ago prior to the Survivor Series pay per view. Unfortunately Cody’s return to action was dwarfed by the debut of his new mustache, a debut that garnered at least two boisterous chants from the New Jersey crowd and a Twitter hashtag. To make matters even more awesome, the Rhodes Scholars (tag team consisting of Rhodes and Damien Sandow) were subjected to an interview with The Miz on MizTV.
The unintentional hilariousness that ensued was enough to at least give the dissenters and advocates a moment of tranquility.
The whole segment easily reminded us of what makes being a wrestling fan fun. It’s understandable to want solid wrestling matches, but the segments that take place in between those matches are important for a number of reasons; wrestlers prepare for matches, get time to recuperate, get last minute instructions, get checked out by physicians, etc. Most important the segment served as a buffer in between matches so the fans get a moment to breathe; seriously think about watching two hours of straight wrestling with nothing in between…
This particular set-up not only did a lot to reintroduce Rhodes to the fans that may have easily forgotten about him in his month long absence (in comparison, does anyone miss Mr. Anderson in TNA?), but it also furthered some sort of rivalry between Miz and Sandow, an exchange that initially began some weeks ago. There may be nothing that comes from it, but it would be peculiar to have Miz constantly egg Sandow without some sort of payoff in sight.
And Cody’s mustache…priceless.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeated Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston in a long and extremely athletic match. The highlight of the match was Cesaro reversal of Kofi’s top rope cross body splash into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. To say that reversal was glorious would be an understatement.
When speaking of making a mid-level championship relevant one would be remiss by not mentioning Cesaro’s name somewhere at the top of that conversation. Cesaro has come quite a way since his WWE debut as a defrocked rugby star turned wrestler and consistently shows the top brass in WWE that he’s a worthwhile investment and a future main event superstar.
Kofi Kingston as of late has settled quite nicely into his mid-level role as Intercontinental Champion. While he doesn’t bring the same flair or notoriety to the belt as former champion Cody Rhodes did during his reign, Kingston seems comfortable in a position that feels to be a grooming session for a main event spot. What should concern us is that this isn’t the first time Kingston has flirted with the proverbial main event mistress, and there’s much to be said about his appeal to those fans who expect their champions to be “wrestlers” in the Antonio Inoki/Great Muta sense of the term.
I will say this: if there was any chance that Kingston would become a major champion sometime prior to 2014, he’d remind me a lot of TNA’s current World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy…minus the drugs and D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F. attitude.
Everyone’s favorite wrestler, Colt Cabana, was apparently backstage at last night’s show. Wrestlers always find their way backstage to shows so it’s not all that big of a deal really. In Colt Cabana’s case, it was interesting to find out that he was backstage at RAW a mere four days after the WWE posted that video on their website.
Colt recently “ended” his tenure with NWA after defeating former NWA World Heavyweight Champion in a series of matches known as the 7 Levels of Hate. This series, culminating with a steel cage match in Australia, saw Cabana defeat Pierce but not for the NWA Title due to some b.s. that’s too complicated to delve into at this moment in time. Point being Cabana may be free to do something with the WWE if he and the company choose to enter into some sort of agreement.
Cabana is funny as hell and also one unique athlete that really didn’t get a solid opportunity to do what he does best in a WWE ring. With stars like Brodie Lee, PAC, Chris Hero and Martin Stone currently making waves in NXT, Cabana could fit in quite nicely with the vast number of “wrestlers” being developed for the WWE. We can’t jump to conclusions because of a WWE.com video and backstage sighting, but it is interesting that the WWE referenced a former wrestler out of the blue for seeming no reason other than to reference him. Let’s just hope he’s at least brought in as a trainer (a la Sara Del Ray).
And finally, the WWE once again ripped off TNA by ending the show with a pier 6 brawl initiated by the hijinks of The Shield. Luckily for us the initial attack was aimed at John Cena, an attack that was long overdue.
It was only a matter of time before The Shield directed their swords of justice towards John Cena. Some fans questioned the group’s motives for attacking Cena, motives that were literally laid out by Dolph Ziggler at the beginning of the show. The simple version is this: Cena, despite having had one terrible 2012, still managed to get opportunity after opportunity to wrestle for the WWE Title. We fans even criticized this for years, so is it really any question as to why The Shield would go after Cena at this point? Hell, my question is “why’d it take them so long to do it?”
What makes The Shield compelling to watch is their calculated and slightly vicious campaign against injustice in the WWE. They attack at random and at will, and it still remains to be seen if they’re indeed working for someone or for themselves. As Mr. Lamb stated in a conversation, they’re like a special ops force within the WWE, striking with intention that’s confusing to anyone outside of the master plan. The attacks can only go on for so long, but at the least we get to see them perform in an actual match in less than a week from now.
Those are just my thoughts on the subject; what did YOU think of the show?
News broke late yesterday afternoon that WWE Superstar Randy “Please Accept Me” Orton was suspended by the WWE for his second violation of the dreaded Wellness Policy.
Wrestling forums, message boards, blogs and websites were flooded yesterday with articles and posts about yet another dark turn in the career of “The Viper.” Meanwhile an entirely new river was created on the planet from the tears shed by Ortonites the world over.
*Note: Mr. Morris would like to take the opportunity to express his deepest sympathy to @RKOsNumba1Fan and @VipersOracle (shameless plug). He would also like to say hello to Shane H. and the Hit the Ropes Radio crew (shameless plug). Please visit The Color Commentator, because it’s still real to them too, dammit!
This type of opportunity doesn’t come often in the realm of pro wrestling. Superstars take time off for various reasons, but the perfect storm where a major star involved in a major storyline is forced to take time off only comes every so often.
Orton’s suspension, initially seeming like a huge blow to the WWE, is actually an opportunity for the next top star to figuratively and literally take the ball he dropped and run with it.
Fans of sports entertainment should spend the next 60 days hopeful that several of their favorite “under-pushed” and “ill-utilized” superstars step up to the plate, grab the bull by the horns, and strike while the iron is hot.
In other words, somebody should take Orton’s time off to prove that they’re more capable and trustworthy of being Smackdown’s most recognizable face (sorry Sheamus).
The next 60 days should be sobering for Randy Orton and the superstars on the Smackdown roster.
One can imagine that a superstar’s second violation of the Wellness Policy is harrowing by itself. We’ve yet to see any athlete score the infamous third strike which would see them released from the company for at least one year.
Much like former superstar Jeff Hardy and the recently suspended Rey Mysterio, Randy is staring into the abyss of a yearlong exile from the WWE. If the company or the business means anything to him, he will more than likely spend this time to heal injuries and think of ways to avoid getting that third strike.
There is of course another option that would be interesting for the business on the whole…
The dark clouds created by Orton’s suspension also come with at least one silver lining. His two month absence from the WWE gives the rest of the roster the golden opportunity to fill the void that has been created by his temporary and involuntary departure.
Some fans make it a weekly habit to accuse the WWE of holding back certain stars for a myriad of reasons. It is not very often, however, that fans aim their venomous barbs at the athletes who, growing comfortable in the position in the company, tend to coast through matches and high profile feuds.
Despite the best wishes and well-intentioned desires of the fans, wrestlers are utilized to be and do certain things on a given roster. The superstars who look to break out of those restrictive walls created by the “system” MUST prove to Vince McMahon, the booking team and the creative writers that they have earned the opportunity to occupy a major spot in the company.
CM Punk has notoriously spent most of his WWE career fighting individuals who expected him to be another wrestler in the company long enough for a cup of coffee. Many years later he’s not only gracing the cover of the WWE ’13 video game, but he’s also getting his first WWE produced DVD (think of how many outstanding superstars that DON’T have one…Kurt Angle…).
Chris Jericho is another superstar that had a lot to prove in the WWE to naysayers inside and outside of the company. His popularity and intellect have made him one of THE most preeminent athletes and entertainers in professional wrestling today.
Most fans can easily agree that Kofi Kingston is a superstar that deserves some time in the sun, and while he’s currently enjoying success as a tag team champion with R-Truth, now would be an excellent opportunity for him to show the suits that he can shoulder the weight of being a top star in the WWE.
Can Kofi actually do that?
Ironically enough his last taste of the main event spotlight was opposite Randy Orton in October 2009. Between that time and now Kofi has been an Intercontinental Champion, U.S. Champion, and Tag Team Champion. What he’s most remembered for is the tag team he formed with Evan Bourne, who is also currently serving out a 60 day suspension for violating the Wellness Policy.
Even though Kofi is still fairly young in his career with many more opportunities ahead of him, he still has to prove to higher ups in the company that he’s worth the money it would take to make him one of the major players in the WWE. Despite his athletic abilities and his rapport with the younger fans, what logical reason exists that would justify placing him in the main event picture over someone like Cody Rhodes?
We’ve got two months to find out the answer to that question.
Let’s view Orton’s suspension as the perfect time for the product to be refreshed and revitalized with a new face or faces. Whether we see Orton return with a new focus and determination, or we witness the rise of the newest superstar that captures our attention and hearts (and dollars), we’re in for one hell of a ride no matter how we look at it.