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Friday, 21 October 2011

Bound For Glory live notes

Here are my 'as-live' notes as I watch TNA Bound For Glory....

  • Could Tenay sound any less excited at the start? IT’S YOUR BIGGEST PPV OF THE YEAR YOU IDIOT! Sorry, that’s harsh on Mike, who is a good guy, but even Michael Cole tries to sound excited about where he is.
  • I would suggest that starting your biggest PPV of the year with Kendrick’s stupid music is a horrific decision.
  • POP for Aries. With TNA’s knowledgeable audience, it’s always going to be staggeringly difficult for A-Double to boo him. He is too good, these people know that.
  • The arena is dressed well, but the high-angle crane shot makes it look very obvious that the hard camera side has barely any seats at all.
  • Terrific match. Aries is fantastic in every manner. His mannerisms and confidence in his character – he gives the impression he knows he is a star – are awesome. Kendrick’s in ring work was very good indeed, but I just feel his character is not connecting with anyone, so it felt a little awkward that the crowd were cheering Aries.
  • That said, the pace of the match, the storytelling, the execution were all very good indeed. The crowd made a big noise for the false finish of Aries getting out of the pin cover after the Sliced Bread. And the right man went over too. Good start.
  • Talking about Jerry Lynn and Rob Van Dam, at the very moment where Taz said that the two men ‘haven’t missed a beat’ they messed up two spots.
  • Another quote from Taz: “I feel like I’m going back in time” – he didn’t mean it the way I do, but I agree 100%. We should be going forwards, not back.
  • I detested that match. Hated it. It made me feel sick. If I want to see Jerry Lynn and RVD fight (this wasn’t wrestling) I’ll get an ECW DVD from a dozen years ago. I don’t need to see all this again. Especially not when both guys are miles off of what they used to be.
  • Much of this match made me feel physically sick. The suplex spot (which I assume was basically botched) was appalling. Why are people doing this in 2011? This match wasn’t going to make either guy’s career? Why would you do that to yourself?
  • Have two wrongs made a right in this triple threat? Typically you don’t put two babyfaces in a three-way match. TNA have, but the crowd want to cheer for Joe anyway.
  • After a series of big moves to the outside, Phillie are so into Joe/Crimson/Morgan that they chant ‘You Screwed Bret’ at Hebner.
  • Crimson is so perfect for a heel turn right now. Similar to when Rock was pushed heavily in 1996 and no-one bought it.
  • I sort of like that Taz is acknowledging that the fans aren’t towing the line.
  • Nah. Not a great match. Not a terrible one, I suppose, but nothing seemed to click. Joe worked really hard with the two big fellas, but nothing about the match flowed, for me. Crimson was the obvious man to go over, and it was no surprise that he won.
  • Good, sensible decision to have Bully Ray trash Philadelphia.
  • I’ve been trying to work out for ages who Bully Ray reminds me of. It’s the One Man Gang. That’s a compliment, by the way.
  • Shots to the head? Fuck me. Pardon my French, but oh my goodness. What is going on here?
  • Unless you are positioning Joe as a wuss, or Anderson as the toughest guy in the world, how can someone kick out of a piledriver to concrete and not an ordinary looking spear.
  • This won’t surprise you, but I hated that too. No place for crappy garbage wrestling in 2011.
  • Pretty awful call by Taz, I thought, at the end of the match. ‘Anderson called an audible’ he said. Well what the hell has he been doing the rest of the match? Calling a match as an athletic contest, that didn’t make sense.
  • I wonder if whoever made Madison Rayne’s music deliberately made it terrible and annoying, or whether he thinks it’s a good song.
  • It’s weird calling Madison the ‘Queen Bee’ and having her come out to ‘Killer Queen’ when Karen is positioned as The Queen, too.
  • OK, she gave her tiara, that makes more sense.
  • Genuinely laughed at Taz calling that the KO title was upside down.
  • Sorry, but the girls four way bored me to tears. Too many moving parts, as Taz might say. That was all about Karen, not about the wrestlers.
  • This is a big match coming up for Styles and Daniels. There last match, in my mind, was a let down. They have a legacy to live up to, they are supposed to be two of TNA’s franchise guys. This needs to be good. 
  • Murdered? MURDERED? Daniels is actually talking about KILLING someone. This is bleak, now. I feel very uneasy watching this.
  • OK, so next time I’m in an I QUIT match, I should just walk to win with a gun, right? Point the gun. If they don’t quit, shoot them. That should do it.
  • Jeff v Jeff in  the type of pull apart brawl which we see EVERY week on Impact. Isn’t this a PPV?
  • So the big gimmick going into Hogan v Sting is that the referee is on Immortal’s side. He’s Eric’s boy. So then, was it a good decision to already have a crooked ref deal earlier in the night?
  • Hogan is so good at branding he did a signature taunt of one of the biggest factions in the rival company’s history. Great work, Terry.
  • “It’s not like the referee’s going to do a damn thing to stop it because it’s Bischoff’s kid”. Erm, isn’t it No DQ?”
  • That could have been a lot worse. Really it could. I didn’t enjoy it particularly, but I can’t fault it too heavily, I guess.
  • It’s the Rock/Hogan match, basically. That’s the booking of it, just with a few different personnel. As I queried on the Ministry of Slam this week, they needed a way that Hogan could carry on with the company, and the babyface turn does it.
  • You know what? This wasn't terrible. I didn't necessarily enjoy it, it's not my thing, but it served it's purpose. It got an awesome reaction. It told a story. It's another example of something that would work so much better if there wasn't two matches on every show which had outside interference or a brawl. 
  • I'm going with a broad thumbs up for the match because it was actually a pay off. Months of Sting talking about finding the Real Hulk Hogan. Eric Bischoff getting his. Dixie getting the company back. That's a long term storyline (a year, really) which has let to a pay off. So I shall commend them for that, and for not trying to do too much. 
  • I could have done without about the blood, but that's a personal thing, and I can understand why it was just another bell or whistle to distract from the fact that Hogan v Sting would actually be a dire match if it was just a straight up wrestling bout. 
  • Why did JB do the ring announcements as Roode and Angle were en route to the ring? Do you think the show is running over?
  • This must be running over. I'm near the end (I think) of Roode v Angle, because it’s into near fall sequences, but it felt like ten minutes of the match were missing. There was no build at all, it was straight into the action.
  • Taz said something about Kurt pulling his groin in training, perhaps that wasn’t a kayfabed comment.
  • Wow. They ended their biggest PPV of the year, their WRESTLEMANIA, with a screwy finish. AGAIN.
  • I feel bad for some of the guys, because sometimes it happens, but there were enough major spots missed that they built up during the night to make TNA look bad. From a sloppy RVD/Lynn exchange mid match (and a missed bump from RVD which is amongst the most stupidly dangerous things I have ever seen) to Anderson missing the finish to his match to the finale of this one. Not only was a bad decision to have Angle CHEAT to win, but Brian Hebner basically got the count wrong (he hit Bobby Roode's foot and the crowd thought it was a two count). I'm not bashing Brian, who's a good dude and good at his job, it was just a mistake and they happen. It was just a rotten time for it to occur.
  • I thought this was a staggeringly underwhelming show. The opener was the best match of the night by far. The main event was fine, but ‘fine’ is not good enough for Bound For Glory. It was cut way too short to be believable or star-making. I could live with Roode losing if he lost to Angle straight up. If we are supposed to be believe that Kurt is the best wrestler ever, and to back up Bobby’s quotes, why would he cheat to win. Having him win clean wouldn’t hurt Bobby – actually it would make him look better if he wins down the road.
  • This was a mess. An overbooked, overhyped let down of an event. I'm frankly left a little bit physically sick at it. I can live with bad booking decisions (Angle/Roode) and ordinary matches (most of the card) but to have a cop out finish in two of three biggest matches on the card as well as a MURDER threat, unprotected shots to the head and career/life threatening bumps, this show unsettled me greatly. There was only one match I felt was of a high enough standard, and that was the opener. I feel hugely let down. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Impact Thoughts

Decided to offer some thoughts on Impact this week. The last few weeks have been fairly decent, and I'm intrigued about Bound for Glory.

  • I didn't think the wide shot of the arena in Knoxville at the start of the show did them any favours. I thought it looked a bit small time. Don't get me wrong, I like them being in arenas and outside of the Impact Zone, but it was obvious this was a small crowd.  
  • Great decision, though, to start with their most over act (Beer Money) in one of their home states (Storm's) - got the crowd up.  
  • I didn't like Storm's promo. Probably not his fault, as I doubt he scripted it. But there was way too much of the insider stuff like 'we're in the semi-main event', 'we're going to have a great match', 'we're being held back by the old guys'. I think Storm is better than that. 
  • I particularly hate it when they mention having a great match. You wouldn't hear footballer saying they HOPE they have a good game. They want to be 4-0 up at half time and to cruise to victory.  The promo picked up. 
  • TNA have done a GREAT job with Roode. Fans genuinely want him to beat Angle.  
  • The Hogan storyline has been, in contrast, awful. Every time I see him on my TV I feel the need to scream "YOU'RE A HEEL!". It's so confused. Why are they running celebrations of this bloke who has been a heel in the company for a year and has ousted Dixie Carter through nefarious means. Do we cheer for Sting? Are we supposed to want Dixie back at all? I'm ok with Gunner going over Kaz. I honestly think Gunner has more upside right now. 
  • The decision reversal was way too quick. Post match attacks happen all the time. Why reverse it for this one? And why was Gunner so happy after the match? If all he was interested in was hurting Kaz, why didn't he just get DQed from the off? Shouldn't he have been pissed off that he lost the match? After all, that's what is supposed to count. 
  • Mr Anderson's promos are just classless now. He's had a poor year. "swinging off nutsacks" and innuendo about Bully Ray's chain and his penis. The asshole thing has totally run it's course.  Bully Ray, on the other hand, has had a great year. But I have zero interest in seeing these two wrestle. 
  • Hang on, Mike Tenay just said that Anderson v Bully Ray is signed for Bound For Glory, and then Bully Ray started to deny that he would fight him. After the promo, Tenay said 'challenge issued' and then in his next sentence said something to the tune of 'these two will meet at Bound For Glory'!!! It's just too confusing.  
  • Why are wrestlers shown doing press ups before a match? Is that really a pre-match workout? Shouldn't they be stretching? 
  • Hey, it's the march of time and TV shot in HD, but Bischoff looked OLD in that backstage interview.  
  • If you saw Kendrick and Aries build to a real fight (MMA, boxing, whatever) would you even consider that Kendrick had a chance? 
  • The five knockouts involved in this match (Mickie, Velvet, Angelina, Madison, Winter) I think do good to great jobs with their characters. Winter's one is a daft concept, but she does a good job with it.  
  • I would have liked to have seen Velvet get a better build to her challenge. I think she could be a great lead babyface for the division for a while. She is undeniably attractive, but also very charismatic and likeable. I'm not saying she is a great worker, but her character is strong enough to carry her through in what is a weak wrestling division right now.  
  • I just typed about six sentences explaining how I thought it was possible that Angelina could be plotting to get the belt off of Winter and onto herself - then I realised she isn't in the match. I'm a clown.  
  • I liked Hardy's other theme music. "Modest to the Top" doesn't make sense. "Another me is what there will never be. Another like like this you will never see" is absolutely what Hardy is. I thought it was perfect.  
  • BOOM! 'Pave the way' is said. Take a shot. Whoa, and 'drop the ball'. Wow, it's cliché central tonight. 
  • I didn't care for Hardy attacking Bischoff. For one, it does nothing to sell the PPV next week, and secondly it didn't exactly solidify Hardy as a sympathetic character who is trying to make himself better. He just attacked when provoked. He is the same, impetuous guy he has always been. And everyone attacks Eric anyway, so it means very little. 
  • Big piped cheers for Crimson. People don't want to boo Joe. 
  • Another great video package showing why we should care about Bobby Roode. They have done a brilliant job on those. 
  • Tenay, at the start of Roode v Storm, like a colossal idiot, said that 'both men are one step ahead'. How the hell does that work, prey tell?
  • What is the justification for making Daniels v AJ Styles an 'I Quit' match?
  • Speaking of AJ, I wonder if he ever bitches and moans about guys like John Morrison stealing his moves? Or I wonder if Kurt Angle ever sounds off in Storm's company about Randy Orton nicking things from him.  Because Storm is very blatant about some of the moves he used. Not only does he use Carlito's backcracker and Jericho's Codebreaker, but he's worked Randy Orton's draping DDT into his arsenal. 
  • Good match. I didn't understand Angle's interference to help Roode, but I'll let them off that as I assume it will be explained next week. I didn't particularly think it was necessary, whatever the storyline motivation. Would it have really have killed them if Roode simply beat Storm?
  • Huge "Hogan" chants. This is ego driven. It's awful business to turn him de facto babyface by spouting platitudes and pandering to the people. It's noticeable that Bischoff has done all the slimy stuff of late. But are we still trying to sell Sting v Hogan? I think Sting will get booed. I really do. And that's awful business. 
  • If Hogan's story is that he is retiring from the Wrestling business, they haven't explained who is going to own TNA. They showed a clip of Hogan telling Dixie earlier this year that he owns 100% of the company. So who is he giving it to?
  • I obviously typed all of the above before the final revelation. Actually, I think it was quite a good idea. That's a good way to reinforce a heel. Build up some reasons to cheer someone so you think they are turning back babyface, then pull the rug out from underneath the fans. Good booking. They have extra reason to hate Hogan now, because the anger you feel when someone makes (or tries to make) a fool of you is very potent. 
  • That said, I hated the big Hogan blow up. Firstly, the look on his face - the hand over the mouth - was ludicrous. It was so hammed up. It was the kind of moment where you might have the wrestling on while your buddy is in the room and they turn to you and say "you watch this shit?". 
  • And here's the other thing. Hogan is a heel. He wouldn't care about his word. Hell, he just lied to the fans trying to convince them he is retiring. So it wouldn't bother him to go back on his word and say that he withdraws the stipulation he mentioned to Sting. It's hardly binding, is it? If Sting had come out with a contract, and goaded Hogan to sign it, only to reveal to Hulk that there was a stip Hogan hadn't read that said that control would go over to Dixie, then I'd be ok with it. It would be a nice callback to the way Hulk and Eric stitched Dixie up in the first place. But Hogan has an 'out' here. Why would he not sneak out of it?
  • I know I've complained a lot here, but all in all this wasn't bad at all. They've done an AWESOME job of selling their BFG main event. That's very crucial. So I can't get at them too much because their central storyline is so good. But there was plenty of stuff I turned my nose at. I didn't care for most of the talking segments, actually. The in-ring work, though, was pretty good. 
  • I'd like to see more from Angle next week. It's been great to see Roode built up, but we need a strong Kurt next week to give us an idea of who Roode is trying to beat. Perhaps some clips of Kurt's best TNA matches, major moves and moments. 

Monday, 3 October 2011

Can you smell a conspiracy?

After the Hell in a Cell PPV we can now be sure that the Miz/Truth/HHH conspiracy storyline is THE major storyline in the company. The mass confrontation and the strong characterisation of Miz and Truth (particularly Miz) is where the focus is, and the build is that Triple H cannot keep control of his own company. 

One hopes that they have a payoff for this. You would like to believe that there is an endgame to this storyline, and that the WWE creative team have a plan for where this whole thing is going. 

In many ways I am sceptical about that. In more ways I am not sold that the whole storyline has taken off. Well, just look at the ratings. As much as we all loved the initial CM Punk promo that started something very different for a while earlier this summer, to be honest WWE will look at buyrates and ratings, and aside from a bumped up buyrate for Money in the Bank (which could have been even higher had it not been free in the UK) there is no evidence that WWE has turned any sort of corner. 

The 3.0 mark has long been the absolute bottom limit of where a Raw rating should be, but things have dipped as low as 2.7 lately. There has only been one proven ratings grabber and buyrate-spiker in Wrestling in 2011. I'll let you have a think about who that might be for a second - I'll name him shortly.

WWE have a tendency to react in a big way when their ratings dip severely. This often involves Vince McMahon, and most are fairly confident that this conspiracy angle will involve Vince at the helm. We've been assuming it's Vince that is behind Miz & Truth, helping them into buildings, via his stooge John Laurinaitis. It's Vince that was pulling Kevin Nash's strings. Vince that has Johnny Ace still on his side. Vince that has the contacts backstage to lift up the Cell structure. All this could be true. But what if.......

........there is another layer to this. What if the conspirators have a different leader? What if they are using Vince to get at HHH? After all, several of the complaints that many protagonists have were true when Vince was in charge, not just complaints of Hunter's COO-ship. Might they be using Vince to leverage their position, then will ditch him as soon as they get a foot in the door. What if there is another leader?

Let's jump cut to Survivor Series. After another month or so of Miz, Truth & co causing havoc - a period in which Johnny Ace is fired - Triple H finally blows up and admits that he is losing control. So he signs the match - it will be his team at Survivor Series against Miz's insurgents team. If HHH's team loses, then he's gone. He'll walk. And Miz & co can help install a new COO, which we shall all assume is Vince McMahon. If Hunter's team prevail, then Miz & Truth are history. To press this home, the contract signing involves Miz & Truth agreeing that if they lose and ever attempt to comeback, they will be sued for everything they own or something. 

So you need to work the teams out. Let's have HHH convince Cena to be his guy, and that means that Rock will be on that team too. Hunter can put the boots on as well. So that's three. HHH can ask Punk to be on his team, but Punk says no. Hunter can plead for weeks, and eventually Punk agrees. Cena questions the decision - can Punk be trusted? That can be a nice hook going in. Can Punk be trusted to help HHH and the babyfaces? 

We need one more for that team, and it's sort of arbitrary who it is in this plan, since the match would be an elimination match, so we need some people to get beat. Let's make Orton the fifth guy. I was going to suggest Sheamus since it plays into his babyface push right now and would be an interesting display of Triple H uniting his troops. 'Look at Hunter, everyone believes in his cause so much that Sheamus can put aside his hatred in order to fight the good fight.' HHH, for his part, can say he chose Sheamus because he knows full well how tough Sheamus is because the Irishman put him out for so long. I'll explain why I chose Orton in a second, but Sheamus would be a decent alternative. 

So we have a team of HHH, Cena, Rock, Punk and Orton. Who do they face?

Well for a start it's Miz and Truth. We'll add Nash to that mix. He can be protected well enough in a ten-man environment and the story fits. We need two more. Most likely it would be Christian and/or Cody. They are in positions where they can do something heinous enough to get fired in the coming weeks, and things have been built that they are being allegedly sinned against. I'd quite like to see Wade Barrett be one of these guys, since he has previous for being part of an anti-establishment gimmick as Nexus leader, and he'd fit well. He'd also add a bit of size and presence to the group. 

But you know who I'd love to add to this? Chris Jericho. It's just - JUST - about possible, since the last show of Fozzy's European Tour is the day before Survivor Series in Germany. It would be tight, but he could make it. 

It's far from ideal, because my fantasy way of booking this would be to have Chris Jericho appear on Raw before Survivor Series and use his famous orartory skills to cut an awesome promo against Punk, against Cena, against Rock and especially against Triple H, explaining why he is siding with Miz. This is the main reason why I've gone, in this scenario, with Randy Orton. Orton featuring would provide the same sense of solidarity as Sheamus (Randy siding with HHH after their storied past) but would offer Jericho a perfect reason for coming back to get revenge, since Orton put him out of commission with a punt to the head. 
Jericho would be a fantastic addition to the Miz team, but I strongly doubt it would be practical. There is a great alternative, though - Batista. 

The big man, in storyline, quit in a strop because he wasn't getting his own way. He has heat with Cena. He can bitch and whine about Triple H quite easily, I'm sure. He'd be a good fit. 

I want Jericho or Batista involved to give the Miz side of the equation that extra credibility and intrigue. In storyline, no-one could really believe, could they, that Miz, Truth, Nash, Cody and Christian (for example) could beat Cena, Orton, Punk, Rock and HHH. Adding Batista and/or Jericho would add more weight to Miz & co's chances, not to mention that it would make Miz's powers of persuasion all the greater. 

In many ways, the personnel of the heel team is not the most important thing. There is one major storyline issue which we need to get to. 

It's a risky one. It might well piss off a number of people - but I would hope that it will be a big enough story that they would forgive WWE. Or at least the intrigue would draw in more people than it drove off. 

I'd need Rock to give me one Raw episode. Preferably the one before the PPV, but it can be the one before that if necessary. We go off the air on that Raw with a to-the-point Rock promo highlighting why he loves WWE, the reasons why he can stand side by side with Cena, despite their past. He can stand side by side with Punk, despite Punk's jibes. He can align with HHH, in spite of their history together. He can stand shoulder to shoulder with Orton, even though Randy ostensibly brought Rock out of retirement at Wrestlemania XX. 

The gist of Rock's speech will be that this threat to WWE by Miz is too great. He loves WWE, as he has said before, and will do whatever he has to to make sure it is in the right hands. 

The Pay Per View arrives. I'd make it a major priority to stack the undercard with high quality matches. Let's say Daniel Bryan v Cody Rhodes for the IC title (if Cody is not in the main event), Dolph Ziggler v John Morrison for the US title, Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston v The Kings of Wrestling (I can dream, can't I?) and Sheamus v Mark Henry. I know most would say "No other Survivor Series matches?" but I'd just have one to keep the main event special. 

I'd make the main feature of the Raw shows post Vengeance the putting together of the teams, especially the babyface team. There has to be focus on how they will get along. Are the past rivalries of Cena/Orton, Punk/Cena, Punk/HHH, Orton/HHH and so on too much for them to all co-exist? Can Punk be trusted? Does HHH really have their respect?

The intro of the show itself would be all about the main event and it's consequences. Before we even go live to the arena I'd screen some 'earlier today' clips, voiced over by Jim Ross and Michael Cole, of first Triple H arriving at the building looking stressed, then quick clips of Cena and Orton getting there too. The announcers sell the magnitude of the match and the babyfaces getting along. Then we have pyro and the first match. 

After the first match, we go backstage and see the arrival of none other than The Rock. he cuts a typical Rock promo then asks where CM Punk's locker room is, since he needs to speak to him. Josh (or whomever) says he hasn't arrived yet. Rock looks concerned. 

During match two, Miz and his entire team arrive as one. It's really important they are portrayed as a unit. Josh goes to interview but they have an escort to the locker room and Josh is refused access to them. We see this on a split screen during the match in progress, to give a sense that things are happening, and not always choreographed to occur coincidentally during a break. In fact Rock's arrival earlier on could happen during match one, then the announcers say that the interview was recorded during the match. 

After match three I'd go backstage and show Punk arriving. He starts to explain that there was traffic and he was late. He is confronted by Cena who questions Punk's commitment. Punk starts to rebut and then commotion is heard. Cena, Punk and cameraman charge to the source of the noise. We see some of Miz's crew scuttle away and find Rock laid out in his dressing room. 

So the question now is whether Rock will be fit for the match. When the times comes, all individual entrances are done, with Rock's coming last. He does not emerge. We start the match 5 on 4. Because of the numerical advantage, Miz's team are able to distract and play enough games that Orton and Punk are eliminated. It's five on two. Out comes Rock, limping to ringside. 

Rejuvenated, the faces fight back. Cena eliminates Christian and then Jericho. Triple H pedigrees and pins Nash. Nash, though, returns with a sledgehammer and lays out HHH. Miz pins him. 

It's left with Rock and Cena v Miz and Truth. Miz and Truth dominate Cena, with the crowd crying out for a Rock tag. Just as Cena gets there, Rock removes his hand. 

Cena looks bemused. Rock flashes a Hollwood smile. Miz grabs Cena - Skull Crushing Finale. Truth picks Cena up and hits Paydirt. In comes Rock. He hits a Rock Bottom and a People's Elbow. Miz pins Cena. They laugh together. Rock stands toe to toe with Miz, who pokes him with one finger. Rock sells it, and allows Miz to pin him. Out come all the heels, including John Laurinaitis, and they celebrate. 

This gives Rock a prominent position on the show. You don't need him to be around all the time. Maybe just half a dozen Raws before Mania. The fact is that Rock is the single proven ratings getter that I referred to near the top of this column. His lustre will wear off eventually, but if used strategically he could be vital to getting WWE back on track. 

So the plan is revealed. Rock is the mastermind. Or is he? It's Raw, and the heels are all out at the start of the show. Rock says that he was only ever going to come back for something groundbreaking, and this is it. He looked at Raw and saw HHH conniving to get the top spot, and was sickened. He was doing this ten years ago when Rock was on the scene the first time. So Rock was sickened to see this, and had to put it right. And as for Cena? He's just as bad as Hunter. Too much power. We will now make sure things are put right. 

Laurinaitis gets the mic. But of course there was only one man who could make this right, he says. Only one man who could pull the right strings - it's Vince McMahon. Out comes Vince. He says how else could the Cell get lowered, who else could get hold of Nash and get him to 'stick Punk'? Vince is not quite reinstalled, because 'the board' won't let him run the show again, but Miz was allowed to name a COO as per the deal of the match, and he chose Rock. But Rock knows that I (Vince) am the only man capable of running this place, so he'll be directed by me. Next week we will have the second ever Vince McMahon appreciation night - and Triple H is going to join the Kiss My Ass club. 

The following week, they tell HHH he will join the Kiss My Ass club or be fired. Vince says Rock is not there, he's in Hollywood, but he's watching on. "We couldn't have done it without you Rock." Trips comes to the ring to confront them and refuses to kiss Vince's ass. Vince says anyone who helps HHH will be fired immediately. The heels jump HHH and Miz hits a SCF on HHH. From that position he lifts Trips up for the horrible deed. Vince cackles. In front of him, Johnny Ace gets a text and the camera focuses on the shock on his face. As he goes to tell Vince something, Nash boots Ace in the face. Vince looks confused. Miz low blows Vince. Out comes the Rock. "So you got my text, Johnny?" he says. He Rock Bottoms the VP (Talent Relations). 

"Vince, Johnny. You're fired." he says.

After this, in the coming weeks, the group try to court Punk to get him in their stable. Punk wavers but ultimately doesn't join. Del Rio petitions to be part of Rock's group but they rebut him and say they want his belt. If the fans went for it you could (possibly) turn ADR babyface. Punk can become a Sting like figure (in terms of mood, not specific character) who is only out for himself. 

Rock doesn't have to be there all the time, just sporadically, but he is running things, and Miz is the shining star of the group. I'd add to the group a little - Barrett would be a good addition. So would Henry. In fact Henry could be there from the start to add muscle and credibility - though I'd get the belt off him first by dubious means to give him the complaint of being sinned against too. 

I'd be tempted to get them oust Nash after a while as he represents an old guard that they don't need. So Rock, Miz, Truth, Christian, Jericho, Barrett and Henry rule the world. 

Look, I haven't got as far as the Rumble and Mania. I'll be honest, not all of the above is that palatable to even myself, because do we really need another heel faction in power? Some of it is more than a little derivative of previous ideas - a hash of Immortal, nWo, InVasion you might say. 

This is less fantasy booking and more a stream of conciousness on something that might happen. I don't honestly expect it too, and neither would I fully endorse it. But it might be a good instigator for change. Have Rock & his gang change loads of things - end the brand split, the title belts, the amount of titles, the set design, the commentary teams - anything. 

There is something about WWE which feels sanitised and clinical. I don't even mean the PG-level booking people talk about. I've said many times that I don't have a problem with PG booking. Punk's big promo and the build to MitB was within the PG boundaries. It's not about PG or non PG. It's about good TV and bad TV. 

What I don't like about WWE is how safe it all feels. How predictable it is. Not predictable angles necessarily, but predictable in that someone will go to the outside of the ring and the announcers go to a break.You know it's coming.  It's predictable that announcers will bicker, that Twitter will be overhyped for no reason, no angles will ever be analysed in depth. Nothing feels important, it's style over substance. 

The attitude era worked not only because of edginess, blood, violence and bad language. It worked because it had characters fans could get behind, or were hooked into watching. They were perhaps lucky that they struck upon Austin, Vince, Rock, Foley & DX at basically the same time, but it was the nature of larger than life characters that pushed them over the edge. 

Have a look back to the initial Hulkamania boom - Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Andre, Piper. There are others. Colourful, loud, gripping characters. Look at the mid-90s. I love Bret to death, but did he, Luger, Diesel, Razor, Sid, Shawn really have you in the same way? Of course not. And that's not huge knocks on those guys necessarily, it's just the ensemble coming together. 

The difference now is that WWE does not have an environment in which these characters can breed, or breathe. Punk happened by accident and they've stifled him. They like a safe character way more, possibly for their corporate image, or possibly because they can't bear to see someone succeed with a character that isn't really theirs. 

Let Miz and Barrett be the men to lead them on. Let them have that rub from The Rock. Let Punk with a new band of brothers (not Cena, Orton and HHH) be the ones to dethrone Miz & co eventually. 

More importantly let someone have a go at changing the look and feel of wrestling shows in the 21st century which have served major companies well, but are now stale, overplayed and predictable. 

OK, maybe I've gone too far. Expecting miracles. 

But The Rock as the heel in the swerve. Could happen. Couldn't it?