WWE Vengeance Blog: Stamford we have a problem
I’ve now had some time to stew on the WWE Vengeance PPV, and the more I thought about it the more I came to realize that this entire show made the current booking shortcomings in WWE painfully evident to everyone watching. There really wasn’t a “bad” match on the show from a wrestling standpoint. I thought every match delivered in the ring, but a lot of the matches on the card left a lot to be desired when it came to booking, and as a result it left the show feeling below average.
It’s hard to really put the blame for this on the talents themselves, because honestly I think many of them had very good performances last night. Dolph Ziggler is a rising star who deserves all the accolades that have been assigned to him. Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres put on one of the better Divas matches we’ve seen in months. Even the two giants, Mark Henry and Big Show, managed to work a pretty good pace and deliver some brutal looking spots leading up to the ring collapse.
Normally you look at WWE PPV’s and see potentially 2 or 3 matches that you can say might sell you on ordering the show. I have to admit I didn’t feel that way about this show based on the booking coming in, but I thought all of the action in the ring on this broadcast was enjoyable. The troubling parts of the show were the haphazard booking in the last five matches. I’m sure the defense of this will be that they needed to set up Survivor Series, but in the end that seems to me to be just another argument against having so many PPV’s.
If an entire $50 PPV experience is merely a 3 hour long tease for the next $50 PPV, what does that tell fans? Perhaps I’m just a curmudgeonly internet wrestling fan who doesn’t “get it”, but booking in this manner serves only to solidify the almost pervasive opinion that PPV’s are of diminishing importance, because rarely outside of the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania do they feel like major spectacles.
I’ll run down my thoughts on the last five matches on the show, and why I think the booking ruined the show:
- Sheamus and Christian had a pretty formulaic match. It wasn’t much different than the match they had last month, even down to the finish. Why should WWE fans have to pay to see this match again? A Christian victory here would have made this feud interesting again and carried them into Survivor Series without damaging Sheamus. The benefits to Christian would have vastly outweighed whatever small blip this would have put in the trajectory of Sheamus’s big push.
- The match between HHH/Punk and Miz/Truth was fine until the finish. It wasn’t blowing the doors off the arena, but all of them are competent in the ring and can deliver a solid match. My problem was I felt like this match could have happened on Raw and it wouldn't have felt any different. There was no big match feel here, and the finish cemented that. The hook for this storyline should not be the surprise reappearance of a guy way past his prime that was not advertised and not spoken about since his storyline firing. There is value to get out of Kevin Nash, but the thought of a Triple H vs. Kevin Nash singles match in 2011 has me grabbing for the remote in my sleep. Let’s hope this is over at Survivor Series.
- Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes was exactly what we all expected, and that was the problem. Rhodes had a great opportunity to pick up a huge head of steam with a victory, yet he takes another clean pin after an RKO. This was a good match with some very athletic spots, but a finish that left me wondering why this couldn't have been settled on TV. Cody didn't need the loss and Randy certainly didn't need the win. This match and Sheamus/Orton felt like gigantic wasted opportunities to me.
- Mark Henry and Big Show had a match that surpassed my expectations, but the ring collapse spectacle felt kind of old hat the longer thought about it. Last night in my initial reaction on .NET Member Exclusive Audio I defended the finish because I couldn’t think of any other way they could have kept both guys strong if they wanted to continue this until Survivor Series. Today, I can’t help but think that last night should have been a clean finish for Mark Henry. If he could have somehow crawled over for the pin after that Superplex, Henry would have continued as a heat monster and nobody would have thought any less of Big Show.
- John Cena and Alberdo Del Rio put on one hell of a brutal match last night. I have to give both men kudos for their toughness and how hard they worked to put on a good match despite not really having a ring to work in. That being said, I disagree with the continued need to protect Cena, because doing so is really limiting their booking options on Raw. Cena had a visual victory on Del Rio after the announce table spot, and the screwy interference finish didn’t really do anything to elevate an already weak champion. In order to continue to reboot the Superman comic series, the old character had to die. I think we are nearing that point with John Cena now.
WWE has to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to create a larger distinction between TV and PPV broadcasts. It’s either that, or they need to reduce the number of yearly PPV’s and perhaps extend one of the television shows to 3 hours every month to accommodate PPV type matches. As it is now, PPV’s often times feel like they are advertising WWE TV, instead of the other way around.