Barnett's 1/16 Pro Wrestling Week in Brief
The purpose of this editorial is to give a brief run down of the happenings in Pro Wrestling this week and a bit of editorializing as to what I think it means for the current TV products.
- Chris Jericho continued his current gimmick of mocking wrestling fans via ridiculous promos. After watching it play out on Monday, it's still working. The fans who initially booed him when we walked out ended up playing right along with his Hoganesque (A word I think I just made up) crowd interactions. I appreciate what Jericho has been able to do since his return, but I think this week whatever character he is playing has to start the process of defining itself.
- The Kane/Cena/Ryder triangle of bad writing continued this past week on Raw. John Cena didn't maintain his serious demeanor throughout the show. He was very intense in the opening segment with Kane, and then was back to clowning again when he made his entrance for his match with Ziggler for the Main Event. Zack Ryder was tasked with acting out some horror movie cliches with Kane, and none of that really worked either. The whole thing was pretty comical, right down to the chokeslam on Ryder during the final segment. We were supposed to believe he landed on a pallet, but he bounced like he landed on a stack of mattresses.
- The Divas division is still plauged by a lack of direction and almost no attention from a creative standpoint. Is WWE blind to the money they can make catering to young women with the Divas? I don't even know why I bother to ask rhetorical questions like that. It has been answered 100 times already on television.
- CM Punk continues to have great matches on Raw. His match this past week with Jack Swagger was refreshing. It's nice to see a WWE Champion who lends out his credibility to younger talents in the ring that have been struggling, and Punk did Swagger a huge favor on Raw. I've enjoyed his title reign but he has been eclipsed recently debuting stars and all the attention that has been paid to the ridiculous Kane and John Cena storyline. I hope they find a way to make him more of a focus of the show.
- Daniel Bryan and Big Show continue to be a runaway hit on Smackdown. I've really enjoyed their interactions, and they've found a way to keep their feud interesting both in the ring and backstage in their talking segments. Mark Henry and AJ's contributions to the success of this feud can't go unmentioned, as they have both helped facilitate Daniel Bryan's character change and have made the World Heavyweight Championship continue to feel important. This is my favorite feud in WWE right now and it isn't even close.
- Kurt Angle addressed a lot of TNA's problems in a radio interview this past week. It seems like he and other long time vets are starting to realize that poor booking and the prevalance of older talents is now reaching the point where it is harming the long term viability of the product. This is a welcome change from some of the "Who, me?" interview answers we've heard from other veterans in the past.
- TNA actually plugged Direct Auto Insurance as part of a skit on the show that was much more like the integrated advertising of the 1950's than a traditional commerical break. It was really quite bush league, and made Crimson and Matt Morgan sound like they need cut rate auto insurance that takes cash payments because they have terrible credit. Very odd position to place your Tag Team Champions in.
- TNA might make me beg them to stop with this Garrett Bischoff storyline if it continues this way. The conflict with his Dad isn't working, and the addition of Hogan as his likely trainer will not help escape the primary problem with this angle. Wrestling fans immediately recognize when something is contrived, and the overwhelming reaction to this has been exactly that.
- As a fan, it always bums me out to tune into a show following a PPV and see several of the same matches I paid for given away on free TV. It's even worse when the matches are better than the ones I paid for, and that was pretty much the case for last week's Impact. Storm and Angle on Impact was twice the match we saw on the PPV, and the same could be said for Hardy and Roode if not for the TNA signature finish.
- ROH aired a great 8 Man Tag Match this week on ROH TV. It is worth going out of your way to see if you haven't already. I believe .NET's Chris Show was at this event, and the match lasted a rather unbelievable hour and forty minutes. The portion they showed on TV was edited, but you got to see all the moments that made the match special. Kudos to everyone involved for a solid hour of wrestling, which is a welcome break from the other TV Wrestling formats.
- ROH TV continues to expand into new markets, with more seemingly added every week. The question remains as to whether the production values and creative direction of the company can scale up with it's expanding TV presence, but at least there is reason for optimism for ROH.
Questions, comments, or concerns? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.