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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

WWE + RAW - General Thoughts

With the Great American Bash approaching, it is time to at least attempt to put the Chris Benoit and Vince McMahon issues behind us. Let’s focus on what we all want to see and why we all watch in the first place – the in-ring action and the TV product.

This week on RAW we moved closer to finding out the card for The Great American Bash. And it’s an intriguing one – in a rather ambivalent sort of way.

The main event is the immovable object meeting the irresistible force. The Black Hole of Charisma v the man redefining the word controversy. Well, the WWE definition of controversial is someone who elicits a response from the crowds that they don’t want.

My first instinct here is to be intrigued. How will they sort this out? John Cena has been give the monster heel treatment of late. Khali, Umaga – throw Cena a string of seemingly unbeatable freaks and he’ll pull off the win somehow. Cena’s best feud by a country mile was his one with Shawn Michaels, and I hope HBK comes back fit and healthy and can maybe challenge Cena again – if he is still champion.

Lashley also spent time battling Umaga, and the combined forces of McMahon, and is the other untouchable on the roster.

The biggest problem I have between the two is the fan perception, both now and in the past. John Cena is where he is because people cottoned on to his act and began to back him. His career path is eerily similar to The Rock. Came in as basically himself, a green worker with an underdog-like gimmick, but when that didn’t really fly, showed that he had a personality and an edge by essentially being an asshole.

This was entertaining enough that eventually the fans bought into it, thus basically turning Cena face. As time has gone on, the thing that fans have turned on is not really Cena as an act, but Cena as a concept, someone who obviously isn’t the most gifted wrestler in the bracket of an Angle, Triple H, Jericho, Michaels and (whisper it) Benoit.

Lashley, however, from day one, was shoved down our throats. Because it worked pushing Brock Lesnar as “The Next Big Thing” from his first appearance, they thought they might be able to rekindle the magic. Don’t get me wrong, Lashley is really over at the moment. However, he is over with people who just cheer when they are told to. They are not the people that the WWE want to force to part with their hard-earned cash. Cena is a drawing champion, Batista was to an extent, Lashley can’t carry the company in the same way, he doesn’t put on 5-star matches or have a great charisma. Actually, I think he is a very lucky boy to be in that position.

So the mark in me wants to find out who the WWE will put over and push as the top man. The realist in me says that there will be one of two finishes likely.

1) While the ref is knocked out, Lashley hits a spear and gets a visual fall for 3. Either a ref from the back come out and Cena just about kicks out, or Lashley takes ages reviving the official, and Cena gets a schoolboy or an FU. Either way both men look ok for it. Cena comes out champ, Lashley says he should have won, we get a rematch at Summerslam.
2) Booker, Kennedy and any applicable others insert themselves and it leads to a double DQ, exactly the way the WWF bottled it back in the day, when Bret Hart faced Diesel (Kevin Nash) at Royal Rumble 1995.

I can’t see any way that it’ll be a clean finish. If you have your own opinion on the finish, do let me know.

Elsewhere on the card, Kane, who has spent the last few years tagging with Big Show, going mad when he heard the date May 19th, fighting an unexplained bloke who was dressed like he used to be, feuding (and losing) to Umaga, feuding with MVP before he was any good, briefly tangling with Booker T, and losing snoozefests with Khali and Mark Henry.

So logically he is the number one contender.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always quite liked Kane. He’s been a strong hand for a fairly long time, and at least he and Edge have had a couple of decent matches in the past. It’s just that you can’t help but think that this is sheer desperation.

Johnny Nitro and CM Punk will go at it again, and here you can see Punk taking the belt after a review of what has gone on. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that the idea was for Benoit to be ECW Champion, marginally beating Punk, with Punk chasing the title and Benoit improving the Straightedge star by association.

Now that this is obviously out of the equation, I can’t see Nitro really carrying a brand, and I don’t think it was intended this way, it was a snap decision and short term measure.

I suppose the match that’ll carry a lot of build up and intrigue will be the supposed return of Dusty Rhodes to face Randy Orton. My first thought when they were building it up was that it’d become Dusty & Cody to face Randy & Cowboy Bob.

Here’s what I’ll throw up for you – Cody heel turn. My take is that the WWE decide that Cody Runnels/Rhodes (he got called both on RAW, so I don’t know what they’ll go with) is ready for the main roster. They want to use his famous father to help him make the transition, and who better to use in conjunction with a legend, than the Legend Killer Randy Orton.

But think of the history with Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and his father. They teamed in the early days, but Dustin and Virgil (Dusty) haven’t always hit it off. I think that you might see an Orton v Dusty match where Orton dominates, Cody comes to the ring, Dusty fights back, and Cody nails his old man.

Cody is associated on screen with Randy Orton to help him get over. His reason for the turn is that his Dad never put him first, he always put wrestling first. This would also create a great springboard for a career, rather than the WWE simply saying: “Here’s a new guy, he’s good/evil (delete as applicable).”

Anyway, this likely won’t happen. Randy will destroy Dusty, leading to Cody wanting revenge and a future grudge match. However, a spanner in those works is that allegedly Triple H will be back in time for Summerslam, and he wants to work a programme with Orton.

Hmm, we’ll see about this one.

Either way, the segment with Orton and Dusty was by far and away the strongest on RAW, with The Dream reminding us all what he can do on the stick, and Randy playing the smug young smart-ass to the hilt. Terrific stuff.

We’re looking at Melina v Candice again at the Bash. I could do a really seedy joke about having a bash to this match…………so I will…………

Melina & Candice at the Bash? We’ll all be having a bash at that one, won’t we lads?

Went well I thought.

The only other confirmed match, as far as I know, is Batista v Khali, but this will be so interminably awful I don’t even want to talk about it until I have to. This is my blog and I can do what I like.

Back soon for more thoughts.


Imran L said...

Never mind the worst match of the year, will it possibly be the slowest match ever when Batista and Kahli face-off at the Bash.... Can you imagine the slow-motion replays??

I reckon this one's going to beat Test vs. Lashley as worst match this year.

Speaking of Lashley... a Cena heel turn at the end of the Bash would be tremendous. Lashley kicks out off everything Cena has to offer, so he ends up bashing his head in with a chair repetitively. DQ Lashley win, Everyone wins.

However, if this was to happen, it would, unfortunately, be the other-way round...

Delliott said...

do u reisale that u predicted leagcy a year and a bit out from it actually starting to take place?

oh and by the way ur blogs ar billerent!