Barnett's 1/9 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 was the mystery man and debuted last Monday, and from what I can tell from feedback managed to at least intrigue most of the WWE audience. I blogged about his return extensively, but I will reiterate that I do feel like this return will blossom into something great. The real test is RAW, and whether or not he and WWE Creative give us something to bite into.
- Kane attempted to drag Zack Ryder to “Hell” to close the show on Monday, at which point John Cena awoke from his chloroform frolic to make the save. It’s bad enough when WWE asks us to suspend disbelief to the point where Kane can suffocate John Cena at ringside, and drag Ryder to hell, but the real cherry on top was another Cena miracle. Sooner or later that guy is going to have to break his new year’s resolution and start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
- The Divas division needs some help right now. Beth Phoenix is a great champion, but she needs better opponents and none of the other Divas are approaching her level of intensity right now. It’s obvious the time spent on story lines in the Divas division is quite small compared to other things, but it would be nice if character development went beyond catty comments and slutty outfits.
- CM Punk and John Laurinitis are keeping me interested in their feud, but I wish Dolph Ziggler felt like more than a back seat passenger. He’s a very talented guy who deserves to be taken seriously in the WWE Title picture, so I hope he gets some credible wins without the assistance of GM Funkhouser.
- I must admit I’m pretty surprised at how much I liked the way the Daniel Bryan and Big Show segments played out on Smackdown this week. Both guys did a great job delivering both in backstage speaking bits and in the ring. Bryan appears to be heading down the path of a slow burn heel turn, which is great to see as his character has been missing some of the intensity that I enjoyed from him in other promotions. If allowed to really push himself, I think Bryan can really deliver. Big Show deserves credit, too, as he has played the role of the frustrated giant very well.
- Abyss proved at the Genesis PPV why he needs to be cycled off of TV for a bit. He got very little reaction in his match with Bully Ray as the babyface, and his last run as a heel was met with the same tame reaction. I like Abyss in the ring and I think in the right role he is excellent, but monsters overstay their welcome very quickly and I think that’s the case with Abyss here.
- Gunner continues to drop people on their heads, including RVD at the Genesis PPV. Flair has been good in his role as mentor thus far, but this pairing needs to have a major babyface foil to make their gimmick work and I’m not sure who TNA has in mind to take them to the next level. If it’s back to Garrett Bischoff, it could be a disaster.
- Robert Roode is not connecting with crowds on the microphone right now. He has a ton of talent, and I know he’s capable of more, but this “selfish generation” character he’s playing doesn’t seem to get under people’s skin like TNA probably hoped. TNA also seems to be doing everything they can to make him look weak in his title defenses in the ring. Based on prior booking, I’d assume this is related and we’re in for more turmoil soon at the top of the card in TNA.
- James Storm and Kurt Angle find themselves in a similar boat as Robert Roode. Both guys are eminently talented and have plenty of experience to draw from, but none of their matches in this feud have met my admittedly high expectations. These matches feel like exhibitions and have never entered the territory where you feel like these guys have a personal grudge.
- Chris Hero looks to be making another Ring of Honor appearance on January 20th. Hero is still awaiting a medical clearance to land a spot in WWE, so this very well could be his last appearance if that situation changes. Hero is a phenomenal talent, so fans should take notice and enjoy what is left of his run in ROH before he will likely change names and characters before making his way to WWE.
- Ring of Honor taped four weeks’ worth of TV in Baltimore this past week, and judging by the reports it looks like we are in for some great matches on ROH TV. I hope the production values catch up with the talent sooner than later as this show looks like video they recovered from lost VHS Tapes.
- ROH is now in 42 TV markets across the country, and reaches roughly 25% of the US population. That is a huge accomplishment from where they were a few years ago, and ROH should be proud of that. Is it too much to ask to record the show in HD, though? The Sinclair stations around the country are all capable of it.
Questions, comments, or concerns? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.